Dr Rupa Harsha
Dr Rupa Harsha is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Zoology, Balurghat College affiliated to Gour Banga University, West Bengal. Her area of research is on the biology and ecology of Culicoides, the vectors of bluetongue virus (BTV) .
"I have been working on species complex of the genus Culicoides for the past 8 years. In India, the genus Culicoides is represented by 79 species, which requires further validation. The epidemiology of BTV is highly complex, potentially involving multiple vector species, with at least 21 BTV serotypes identified by serology. I have been working on the bionomics of the potent vector species in West Bengal. I revealed that the suspected vector C. oxystoma, C. peregrinus, C. fulvus were significantly abundant and were associated with cattle. The seasonal and temporal activities of the species have been studied at selected sites in Hooghly and Burdwan districts. I also reared C. peregrinus under controlled laboratory conditions from the field collected engorged females, the results of which were published. The trials on the mating and blood feeding have been started and the work is still under progress. By studying the surface architecture of the eggs, and the larvae of common vector species, I can workout the identification of the immature stages. I have also initiated DNA barcoding of the Culicoides species prevalent in this state. After getting the basic information of the prevalent suspected vector species the future work aims to test the vector potentiality of the species from the field and laboratory reared specimens. Presently I am engaged in studying the midge populations associated with cattle in the Balurghat, Dakhshin Dinajpur by light trap collections".