Culicoides monitoring in Belgium in 2011: analysis of spatiotemporal abundance, species diversity and Schmallenberg virus detection

N DE Regge, R DE Deken, C Fassotte, B Losson, I Deblauwe, M Madder, P Vantieghem, M Tomme, F Smeets, A B Cay

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


In 2011, Culicoides (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) were collected at 16 locations covering four regions of Belgium with Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (OVI) traps and at two locations with Rothamsted suction traps (RSTs). Quantification of the collections and morphological identification showed important variations in abundance and species diversity between individual collection sites, even for sites located in the same region. However, consistently higher numbers of Culicoides midges were collected at some sites compared with others. When species abundance and diversity were analysed at regional level, between-site variation disappeared. Overall, species belonging to the subgenus Avaritia together with Culicoides pulicaris (subgenus Culicoides) were the most abundant, accounting for 80% and 96% of all midges collected with RSTs and OVI traps, respectively. Culicoides were present during most of the year, with Culicoides obsoletus complex midges found from 9 February until 27 December. Real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction screening for Schmallenberg virus in the heads of collected midges resulted in the first detection of the virus in August 2011 and identified C. obsoletus complex, Culicoides chiopterus and Culicoides dewulfi midges as putative vector species. At Libramont in the south of Belgium, no positive pools were identified.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical and Veterinary Entomology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)263-75
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Animals
  • Belgium/epidemiology
  • Bunyaviridae Infections/epidemiology
  • Ceratopogonidae/physiology
  • Insect Vectors/physiology
  • Orthobunyavirus/physiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Population Density
  • Species Specificity


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