Publication details

Determination of the age of bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) through pteridines: methodical pitfalls



Year of publication 2018
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Description The individual age for different insect species can be determined by the concentration of pteridines in the eye. The female age and with it the changing ability to keep viable sperm seems to be an important parameter in the study of ecological speciation and reproductive isolation of two host lines of bedbugs (C. lectularius) parasitizing humans and bats. So far, no study has been done to determine the age of bedbugs, and there are still some methodological inconsistencies in the age determination. At first we had to choose suitable pteridines because their amount and presence differ among taxa. Furthermore, it was necessary to select the most appropriate extraction medium since its pH significantly affects the quality of the extraction. The next step was to find out whether pteridines are really only in the eye because the preparation of the whole head is much easier and more effective than the eye preparation. Finnally, all literature states that pteridines are light-sensitive, so extraction has to be done under very limited light conditions. Preliminary results show that the useable pteridines for identifying the age of the bedbugs are 6-biopterin, isoxanthopterin and leucopterin. For all tested pteridines was found that they are primarily in the eyes and no significant difference between the preparation for light and darkness. Thus, unlike most published procedures, extraction can be performed under the light, which greatly facilitates sample preparation and reduces the error rate.
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