Arthropods of medicoveterinary importance in zoos

Peter H. Adler, Holly C. Tuten, Mark P. Nelder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Zoos present a unique assemblage of arthropods, captive vertebrates, free-roaming wildlife, humans, and plants, each with its own biota of symbiotic organisms. Arthropods of medicoveterinary importance are well represented in zoos, and an ample literature documents their influence in these animal-rich environments. Mosquitoes are of greatest significance because of the animal and human pathogens they transmit, followed by ectoparasites, many of which are exotic and present health risks to captive and native animals. Biting flies, cockroaches, filth flies, and triatomid bugs represent additional concerns. Integrated management programs for arthropods in zoos are commonplace. Zoos can play a role in biosurveillance, serving as an advanced guard for detecting exotic arthropods and vector-borne diseases. We provide the first review of arthropods of medicoveterinary importance in zoos. A case is made for the value of collaborations between entomologists and zoo personnel as a means of enhancing research and public education while safeguarding the health of captive animals and the public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-142
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Entomology
StatePublished - Jan 7 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • diseases
  • ectoparasites
  • exotic species
  • insects
  • mosquitoes
  • vectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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