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Arthropod supplies

Many of the viruses we study at The Pirbright Institute are spread between livestock, humans and wildlife by insects or ticks. Our Entomology Group manages and maintains insect and tick colonies in our insectary and provides scientific expertise to help us understand the transmission and ecology of the viruses that they spread.

Under National Capability we are able to offer access to these vectors and scientific expertise. The colonies available include:

  • Culicoides sonorensis, a biting midge species used to investigate arbovirus infection and dissemination. This vector is competent for a wide range of arboviruses including bluetongue, African horse sickness and Schmallenberg.
  • Culicoides nubeculosus, a UK species used for insecticide and repellent testing, studies of mating and host location, molecular assay standardisation and for immunological investigations in horses.
  • Culex pipiens (2 lines), an extremely common and widespread mosquito species found across the UK and used in studies of vector competence, host location and insecticides.
  • Culicoides nubeculosus purified saliva proteins.

All arthropods supplied to academic research institutes ("not for profit" organisations) and commercial applicants are subject to an individually prepared Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) between the originating institute providing the material (i.e. The Pirbright Institute) and the recipient.


Material Transfer Agreement:  New users must complete an MTA Request Form and return it as soon as possible to enable preparation of the Material Transfer Agreement.  Our Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation team will draft the MTA as appropriate and send on to the user for their review and signature.

MTA Request Form

Arthropod Order Form:  Orders will only be accepted once the Material Transfer Agreement is signed and all customs/finance issues have been resolved.  No supplies will be shipped without a completed form.

Arthropod Order Form

Species Timelines
C. nubeculosus Please allow at least one working weeks' notice unless by prior arrangement
C. sonorensis Please allow at least one working weeks' notice unless by prior arrangement
Cx. pipiens Please allow at least two working weeks' notice unless by prior arrangement

Arthropods are sent in pots (~500 individuals/pot) unless otherwise requested, and can be supplied sorted or unsorted (Culicoides sp. only).

Supplies will be sent to external UK institutes via Royal Mail.  Supplies will be sent overseas via courier.  Shipping outside the UK is subject to appropriate visa requirements being in place.
For more information about the current availability of arthropods or existing orders, please contact the Insectary team and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


Supply queries: +44 (0) 148323 1203 or +44 (0) 148323 1161 

MTA queries: +44 (0) 148323 1161 or +44 (0) 148323 1129

Philip Mellor Insectary
The Pirbright Institute
Ash Road
GU24 0NF

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