Because of its ability to prey on Triatominae in rural houses, Clerada apicicornis
has been suggested as a potential biological control agent of Rhodnius prolixus
. It has also been suggested as a potential vector of mammalian trypanosomes such as Trypanosoma cruzi
, because of its ability to take blood directly from mammals. To help resolve these conflicting ideas, we assessed the haematophagic behaviour of C. apicicornis
by carrying out feeding trials on laboratory animals.
Cleptohaematophagic behaviour was also assessed by allowing C. apicicornis
to feed on R. prolixus
previously engorged with avian blood. The low proportion of blood meals taken directly from laboratory animals indicates a facultative haematophagy in this species, whereas a greater proportion of nymphs and adults were able to obtain vertebrate blood by predation on engorged R. prolixus
. The results suggest that C. apicicornis is
unlikely to be effective as a biological control agent, but is also unlikely to have a significant role in the transmission of vertebrate pathogens.