Life Cycle

As in all Hemiptera, kissing bugs/triatomines undergo hemimetabolous development, which means incomplete metamorphosis including in the case of triatomines an egg, five nymphal instars and the adult. The entire life cycle from egg to adult may be as short as 3 to 4 months, but more commonly it takes 1 to 2 years (Krinsky, 2019).

Egg

Oviposition by female triatomines begins 10-30 days after copulation. Each female typically deposits only one or two eggs daily, producing a total of 10-30 eggs between bloodmeals. Depending on the species, a single female may produce up to 1,000 eggs in her lifetime, but about 200 is average.

Each oval egg is about 2-2.5 x 1 mm in size. The eggs may be white or pink. Most species deposit eggs singly, but some females lay eggs in small clusters or masses. Different species lay eggs freely or glue them to a substrate. Gluing eggs to the substrate is seen in at least two species of Triatoma and many species of Rhodnius, Psammolestes, Cavernicola, and Parabelminus. In those species that glue their eggs to the substrate, the eggs may be single or in clusters. Eggs of some species turn pink or red before hatching 10-37 days after oviposition, depending on temperature. For further details see Krinsky (2019).

Nymph

After the egg stage, the triatomine development proceeds through five nymphal instars. Nymphs are distinguished from adults by their smaller eyes, their lack of ocelli (simple, small, light detecting organs) and wings, and the presence of thoracic lobes where wings will develop.

The newly emerged nymphs are pink and take a bloodmeal 48-72 hours after the eggs hatch. Nymphs must engorge fully to molt. They often require more than one bloodmeal during all but the first instar. Apart from other factors like environmental temperature, humidity, host availability, host species and feeding intervals, the length of the nymphal diapause is also influencing the developmental time of the entire life cycle of the kissing bug.

Just as both adult sexes, all nymphal instars require blood for their survival and development. For further details see Krinsky (2019).

Adult

Both sexes of triatomine adults (just as all nymphal instars) require blood for their survival and development. Female bugs are ready to mate 1-3 days after the final molt. Copulation between male and female lasts about 5-15 min. Although both sexes usually have had at least one blood meal before mating, unfed males also will mate with fed females.

Kissing bugs can be divided into three general habitat groups: sylvatic, peridomestic, and domestic (see also under Epidemiology). Independent of the habitat, kissing bugs tend to be secretive, hiding in cracks and crevices of natural and artificial materials. Shaded crevices that provide extensive bodily contact with a rough, dry surface are preferred.

Most species of triatomines are nocturnal and actively seek blood from diurnal hosts that are resting or sleeping at night. Kissing bugs can survive for months without a bloodmeal. When hosts are available, they commonly feed every 4-9 days. Individual species show definite host preferences.

After engorging, the bug removes the rostrum from the host and, in most species, defecates on or near the host before crawling away to seek shelter. The interval between feeding and defecation is a major factor in determining the effectiveness of a species as a vector of Trypanosoma cruzi. For further details see Krinsky (2019).

References

Introduction

Krinsky WL: Chapter 8: True Bugs (Hemiptera). In: Mullen GR, Durden LA (eds.): Medical and Veterinary Entomology. 3rd edn., 2019, Academic Press, Elsevier Inc., London, pp. 107-27

Egg

Krinsky WL: Chapter 8: True Bugs (Hemiptera). In: Mullen GR, Durden LA (eds.): Medical and Veterinary Entomology. 3rd edn., 2019, Academic Press, Elsevier Inc., London, pp. 107-27

Nymph

Krinsky WL: Chapter 8: True Bugs (Hemiptera). In: Mullen GR, Durden LA (eds.): Medical and Veterinary Entomology. 3rd edn., 2019, Academic Press, Elsevier Inc., London, pp. 107-27

Adult

Krinsky WL: Chapter 8: True Bugs (Hemiptera). In: Mullen GR, Durden LA (eds.): Medical and Veterinary Entomology. 3rd edn., 2019, Academic Press, Elsevier Inc., London, pp. 107-27

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