The distribution of triatomine (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae) in Illinois and Missouri: historical records and specimen submissions from community science programs. Academic Article uri icon


  • Triatomine species (kissing bugs) infected with Trypanosoma cruzi are found across the southern United States. The northern limits of Trypanosoma cruzi infected kissing bugs are less understood. The objective of this work was to describe the locations of kissing bugs from Illinois and Missouri based on historical records, submissions to Texas A&M University's (TAMU) Kissing Bug Community Science Program and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and records from online platforms (iNaturalist, BugGuide, and GBIF) up to and including 2022. A total of 228 records were discovered, including 186 from historical or observation platforms and 42 specimens submitted to TAMU or CDC. Species included Triatoma sanguisuga (221 total records, 9 nymphs) and Triatoma lecticularia (7 records). Notably, nearly all (24/26) records submitted to TAMU were collected indoors. Twelve of the 30 (40%) specimens tested were positive for the presence of T. cruzi, including parasite discrete taxonomic units TcI and TcIV. One triatomine sample had been found in a bed feeding on the submitter; this bug was positive for T. cruzi and had evidence of human blood in its gut. Records suggest a ubiquitous distribution in Missouri and potentially to the northernmost border in Illinois. Further investigations into triatomine distribution and infection status are needed within states assumed to be northern limits in order to create public health and veterinary health messaging and baseline distributional maps from which to measure future range shifts in relation to a changing climate.

published proceedings

  • J Med Entomol

author list (cited authors)

  • Santos, E. M., Santanello, C. D., Curtis-Robles, R., Killets, K., Lawrence, G., Sevenshadows, J., ... Hamer, S. A.

complete list of authors

  • Santos, Ellen M||Santanello, Catherine D||Curtis-Robles, Rachel||Killets, Keswick||Lawrence, Gena||Sevenshadows, Jet||Mahoney, Meredith J||Baker, Molly||Hamer, Sarah A

editor list (cited editors)

  • Poh, K.

publication date

  • December 2023