Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Outlaw, Diana C.

Committee Member

Brooks, Christopher P.

Committee Member

Goddard, Jerome

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences


The vectors of avian malaria (Haemosporida) are an understudied component of wildlife disease ecology. Most studies of avian malaria have focused on the secondary bird hosts. This imbalance leaves a significant gap in our knowledge and understanding of the insect hosts. This study investigates the diversity of malaria parasites carried by mosquitoes (Diptera, Culicidae) in the state of Mississippi. Using PCR techniques, haemosporidian infection rates were determined and parasites were identified in a phylogenetic context to those previously annotated. A total of 27,157 female mosquitoes representing 15 species were captured. Five of those species tested positive for malaria parasites with an overall infection rate of 4 per 1000 mosquitoes infected. Mosquitoes were shown to harbor Plasmodium and Haemoproteus parasites. Surprisingly, a unique lineage of parasites was discovered in Anopheles mosquitoes potentially representing a new genus of haemosporidian parasites, reinforcing the need to continue investigating this diverse group of parasites.



zoonosis||Plasmodium||Haemoproteus||Culex||Anopheles||Culicidae||Coquillettidia||Psorophora||wildlife disease