My research program focuses on mosquitoes and the diseases they transmit to humans and animals. The mosquito-borne disease known as eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has had primary focus over the years because of its direct impact on New Jersey's recreation industry. The major mosquito vectors we have been investigating in the cycle of this disease include Culiseta melanura, the vector to birds, Coquillettidia perturbans, the vector to horses and Aedes sollicitans, the primary vector to humans. My overall objective has been to focus on events that lead to human and equine outbreaks of the disease and develop a predictive model for its occurrence. My program combines research and extension components to gather and dispense information to the mosquito control agencies in the state that are ultimately responsible for disease prevention. Over the past 20 years, my program has cooperated closely with the New Jersey State Department of Health to test mosquitoes for EEE virus and make the information quickly available to mosquito control agencies in the state. I have also been collaborating with Dr. Donald Caccamise, an Ornithologist in the Department of Entomology, to broaden our knowledge on the role of birds as overwintering hosts. Our results point to recrudescence of latent virus in birds as a major re-initiation mechanism each season. Science has long believed that mosquitoes initiate the seasonal cycle by infecting local bird populations each spring. Our field evidence strongly suggests that local bird populations infect mosquitoes as a prelude to the cycle. I have recently become involved with black fly research and am actively involved in studies that monitor black fly populations in the Delaware River. Improved water quality in New Jersey has allowed pest species to become established in river systems that did not previously support these insects. The state of New Jersey is providing me with funds to monitor, control and investigate the life cycles of important black fly pests.
- Surveillance for Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus in New Jersey Mosquitoes
- Birds in Relation to Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus
- Biology of New Jersey Black Flies
- Crans, W.J., M.S. Chomsky, D. Guthrie and A. Acquiviva. 1996. First record of Aedes albopictus from New Jersey. J. Am. Mosquito Control Assoc. 12(2):307-309.
- Crans, W.J. and D. Sprenger. 1996. The blood-feeding habits of Aedes sollicitans (Walker) in relation to eastern equine encephalitis virus. (3 part series of articles) I. Host selection in nature determined by precipitin tests on wild caught specimens, II. Results of experiments with caged mosquitoes and the effects of temperature and physiological age on host selection, III. Habitat preference, vertical distribution and diel periodicity of host-seeking adults. J. Soc. Vector Ecol. 15(2):144-148 and J. Soc. Vector Ecol. 21(1):1-13.
- Crans, W.J. D.F. Caccamise and J. R. McNelly. 1994. Eastern equine encephalitis in relation to the avian community of a coastal cedar swamp. J. Med. Entomol. 31(5):711-728.
Research Interests and Expertise
mosquitoes, black flies, eastern equine encephalitis, Culiseta melanura, Aedes sollicitans, Coquillettidia perturbans, Simulium jenningsi.