Characterization of triatomine bloodmeal sources using direct Sanger sequencing and amplicon deep sequencing methods. Academic Article uri icon


  • Knowledge of host associations of blood-feeding vectors may afford insights into managing disease systems and protecting public health. However, the ability of methods to distinguish bloodmeal sources varies widely. We used two methods-Sanger sequencing and amplicon deep sequencing-to target a 228bp region of the vertebrate Cytochrome b gene and determine hosts fed upon by triatomines (n=115) collected primarily in Texas, USA. Direct Sanger sequencing of PCR amplicons was successful for 36 samples (31%). Sanger sequencing revealed 15 distinct host species, which included humans, domestic animals (Canis lupus familiaris, Ovis aries, Gallus gallus, Bos taurus, Felis catus, and Capra hircus), wildlife (Rattus rattus, Incilius nebulifer, Sciurus carolinensis, Sciurus niger, and Odocoileus virginianus), and captive animals (Panthera tigris, Colobus spp., and Chelonoidis carbonaria). Samples sequenced by the Sanger method were also subjected to Illumina MiSeq amplicon deep sequencing. The amplicon deep sequencing results (average of 302,080 usable reads per sample) replicated the host community revealed using Sanger sequencing, and detected additional hosts in five triatomines (13.9%), including two additional blood sources (Procyon lotor and Bassariscus astutus). Up to four bloodmeal sources were detected in a single triatomine (I. nebulifer, Homo sapiens, C. lupus familiaris, and S. carolinensis). Enhanced understanding of vector-host-parasite networks may allow for integrated vector management programs focusing on highly-utilized and highly-infected host species.

published proceedings

  • Sci Rep

author list (cited authors)

  • Balasubramanian, S., Curtis-Robles, R., Chirra, B., Auckland, L. D., Mai, A., Bocanegra-Garcia, V., ... Hamer, S. A.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Balasubramanian, Sujata||Curtis-Robles, Rachel||Chirra, Bhagath||Auckland, Lisa D||Mai, Alan||Bocanegra-Garcia, Virgilio||Clark, Patti||Clark, Wilhelmina||Cottingham, Mark||Fleurie, Geraldine||Johnson, Charles D||Metz, Richard P||Wang, Shichen||Hathaway, Nicholas J||Bailey, Jeffrey A||Hamer, Gabriel L||Hamer, Sarah A

publication date

  • January 2022