Three species of Triatorna were studied in this investigation: T. rubida uhleri (Neiva), _T. protracta protracta (Uhler), and T. recurva (Stal) (Hemiptera:Reduviidae). These blood-sucking bugs are ectoparasites of vertebrate animals. Triatoma rubida uhleri (Neiva) is the most common conenose bug in southern Arizona.

At certain seasons of the year Triatoma bugs enter homes and bite people causing an allergic reaction in sensitized individuals. The purpose of this study was to determine cause of flight, time of day and r season of the year most individuals fly, effects of various physical factors on flights and distances flown.

This research was conducted at lights in Sabino Canyon, northeast of Tucson, Arizona. A black light was operated 4 to 6 nights per week during the summers of 1972 and 1973. For each Triatoma bug collected physical conditions (temperature, relative humidity, cloud cover, moonlight, wind speed and direction) and time of arrival were noted.

Computer analysis of the data was performed using programs written in FORTRAN IV and a prepared program (BMD 02R) from UCLA Health Sciences Computing Facility.

Lodges of Neotoma albigula Hartley, the natural host of Triatoma rubida and TT. protracta protracta, were examined for the presence of bugs during all seasons of the year. Seventy-nine lodges were examined.

A total of 1107 Triatominae were collected at lights and traps and 941 from Neotoma lodges. Twelve species of reduviids other than Triatominae were also collected at the black lights. Three species of buprestids were collected on sticky traps. Desert tortoises. banded geckos and scorpions were found in Neotoma lodges.

Triatoma rubida uhleri bugs overwinter as 5th instar nymphs. As soon as average temperatures warm up to 23° to 25°C, the 5th instar nymphs begin molting to adults. This produces large numbers of adult bugs in early summer. T. rubida has a short adult life span; by fall very few adult bugs are left alive.

Triatoma flights appear to be due to starvation. If adult bugs find themselves without a wood rat host, they become starved within approximately 15 days following their last blood meal. Because the Neotoma move about from lodge to lodge, and furthermore because of predation on them by owls, snakes, and bobcats, the Triatoma may be without hosts for extended periods of time. With very few exceptions. bugs arrive at the light in a starved condition and die within a few days. if not fed.

Time of day (or amount of light) is a limiting factor in bug flights. The vast majority of Triatominae bugs in this study were collected in the first 4 hours after dark. Only 5 bugs were received before zero footcandles of light.

The most important physical factors promoting the flight of T.rubida are high temperatures, low relative humidity and low wind speeds. For T.recurva the factors promoting flights are temperatures in the range 22° to 35°C and low relative humidity.

LLU Discipline





Graduate School

First Advisor

Raymond E. Ryckman

Second Advisor

Leonard R. Brand

Third Advisor

Earl W. Lathrop

Fourth Advisor

Robert L. Schultz

Fifth Advisor

Paul Y. Yahiku

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings




Page Count

xii; 116

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

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This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

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Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

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