Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Christopher Vitek

Second Advisor

Dr. Kenneth R. Summy

Third Advisor

Dr. Matthew D. Terry


Chagas disease is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which is carried by an insect vector of the family Reduviidae, and of the subfamily Triatomina. The species Triatoma gerstaeckeri is identified as the primary vector of T. cruzi within the Rio Grande Valley. Species of Triatoma gerstaeckeri were trapped in La Sal del Rey National Refuge in 2012 and 2013.

Data indicates a seasonal dispersal pattern of activity for T. gerstaeckeri. Optimal time of capture was between 1-2 hours after sunset. Different methods were utilized to determine the best combination of lures. Results indicate that the UV-light alone is sufficient in attracting T. gerstaeckeri. Using a combination of dry ice with UV-light did not increase efficiency of trapping but this method did not reduce the likelihood either. PCR was performed on 87 T. gerstaeckeri vectors and a 20% infection rate with T. cruzi was observed.


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