Culicoides is a genus of biting midges in the family Ceratopogonidae. The female midges require blood meals for egg production. There are over 1000 species in the genus, which is divided into many subgenera. Several species are known to be vector of many diseases and parasites, which can affect animals. As vectors of viruses, Culicoides species are of the higher veterinary importance. More than 75 arboviruses, belonging to Bunyaviridae, Reoviridae and Rabdoviridae families, were isolated from different Culicoides species. In Mediterranean region, the principal vector of Bluetongue virus is represented by Culicoides imicola, and also other European Culicoides biting midges are implicated in virus transmission. Despite the virulence of these species and his colonisation in Tunisia, they are still considered as neglected area due to the rarity or the absence of programmes to control these biting midges. Thus, the available data on species composition, dominant species, breeding sites and host preferences are urgently needed to better understand these biting midges and to develop reliable tools to prevent the spread of other diseases that threaten human and animal life.
Part of the book: Biological Control of Pest and Vector Insects
Culicoides biting midges are tiny blood-feeding insects of several diseases with veterinary and public health significance, including Bluetongue in ruminants, African horse sickness in equids and filarial diseases like Onchocercosis and Mansonellosis affecting various species such as humans. Their identification depends basically on the microscope examination of key morphological characters. Consequently, identification keys are important to any non experiment working with these biting midges. The Tunisian fauna of Culicoides biting midges consists of 35 species, whose morphological delineation may be troublesome for non-taxonomists. In response to this situation, and for the first time a key to the adult Culicoides species in Tunisia was prepared.
Part of the book: The Wonders of Diptera