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Estimating Culicoides sonorensis biting midge abundance using digital image analysis
- OSBORNE, C. J., MAYO, C. E., MULLENS, B. A., MACLACHLAN, N. J.
- Medical and veterinary entomology 2014 v.28 no.4 pp. 461-464
- Culicidae, Culicoides sonorensis, arboviruses, computer software, image analysis, midges, monitoring, ruminants, sorting, California
- ImageJ is an open‐source software tool used for a variety of scientific objectives including cell counting, shape analysis and image correction. This technology has previously been used to estimate mosquito abundance in surveillance efforts. However, the utility of this application for estimating abundance or parity in the surveillance of Culicoides spp. (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) has not yet been tested. Culicoides sonorensis (Wirth and Jones), a biting midge often measuring 2.0–2.5 mm in length, is an economically important vector of ruminant arboviruses in California. Current surveillance methods use visual sorting for the characteristics of midges and are very time‐intensive for large studies. This project tested the utility of ImageJ as a tool to assist in gross trap enumeration as well as in parity analysis of C. sonorensis in comparison with traditional visual methods of enumeration using a dissecting microscope. Results confirmed that automated counting of midges is a reliable means of approximating midge numbers under certain conditions. Further evaluation confirmed accurate and time‐efficient parity analysis in comparison with hand sorting. The ImageJ software shows promise as a tool that can assist and expedite C. sonorensis surveillance. Further, these methods may be useful in other insect surveillance activities.