Europe was officially declared free from malaria in 1975; nevertheless, this disease remains a potential problem related to the presence of former vectors, belonging to the Anopheles maculipennis complex. Autochthonous-introduced malaria cases, recently reported in European countries, together with the predicted climatic and environmental changes, have increased the concern of health authorities over the possible resurgence of this disease in the Mediterranean Basin. In Italy, to study the distribution and bionomics of indigenous anopheline populations and to assess environmental parameters that could influence their dynamics, an entomological study was carried out in 2005-2006 in an at-risk study area. This model area is represented by the geographical region named the Maremma, a Tyrrhenian costal plain in Central Italy, where malaria was hyperendemic up to the 1950s. Fortnightly, entomological surveys (April-October) were carried out in four selected sites with different ecological features. Morphological and molecular characterization, blood meal identification, and parity rate assessment of the anophelines were performed. In total, 8274 mosquitoes were collected, 7691 of which were anophelines. Six Anopheles species were recorded, the most abundant of which were Anopheles labranchiae and An. maculipennis s.s. An. labranchiae is predominant in the coastal plain, where it is present in scattered foci. However, this species exhibits a wider than expected range: in fact it has been recorded, for the first time, inland where An. maculipennis s.s. is the most abundant species. Both species fed on a wide range of animal hosts, also showing a marked aggressiveness on humans, when available. Our findings demonstrated the high receptivity of the Maremma area, where the former malaria vector, An. labranchiae, occurs at different densities related to the kind of environment, climatic parameters, and anthropic activities.
In the summers of 2001 and 2002, we quantitatively sampled human-biting flies in twelve sites located 1.6 to 63 km from a large copper-nickel smelter at Monchegorsk on the Kola Peninsula, Russia. We collected 429 specimens of three species of Ceratopogonidae, 92 specimens of seven species of Culicidae, 76 specimens of seven species of Tabanidae, and 4,788 specimens of 19 species of Simuliidae. Culicoides chiropterus was for the first time reported from the Kola Peninsula. Catches of Culicidae and Simuliidae decreased near the smelter, presumably due to the combined action of toxicity of pollutants, pollution-induced forest damage, and decline in vertebrate density. An abundance of Ceratopogonidae and Tabanidae, the size of the most common black fly species, Simulium pusillum, and the diversity of all families did not change along the pollution gradient.
In southern Sweden, many wetlands have been constructed, and maintaining or increasing biological diversity is often included in the aims. Some wetlands are constructed near human settlements, thus raising the problem of wetlands being associated with mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae). Increased biodiversity (including mosquito diversity) is considered desirable, whereas mosquito nuisance from a human point of view is not. Adult mosquito abundance, diversity and species assemblages of constructed wetlands were compared to natural wetlands. The potential of constructed wetlands for mosquito nuisance and transmission of mosquito-borne viruses was evaluated. The study areas included five constructed and four natural wetlands. Mosquito abundance and species richness were higher in the natural than in the constructed wetlands, and showed a positive correlation with wetland size. Mosquito species assemblages formed three clusters, which were not explained by origin, size and water permanence of wetlands. In a redundancy analysis, however, mosquito faunas showed significant relationships with these variables, and size and origin of wetlands were most important. Major nuisance species (multivoltine species feeding on mammals and laying eggs on soil) were found in all wetlands, although in relatively low numbers. Risk assessment for Sindbis virus transmission showed moderate risk for two constructed wetlands near human settlements. It is concluded that small size of constructed wetlands has the advantage of low mosquito numbers from a human point of view. The use of functional groups is recommended as a tool for presenting mosquito data to the public, and for helping communication between scientists and administrative decision makers.
Mosquito-borne Sindbis virus (SINV) causes rash-arthritis syndrome in Finland. Major outbreaks with approximately 7-year cycles have caused substantial burden of illness. Forest dwelling grouse are suspected to be amplifying hosts, with the infection transmitted to humans by mosquito bites. SINV infection surveillance data for 1984–2010 were used to create a negative binomial hurdle model, with seasonality, long-term cycles, climatic, ecological and socioeconomic variables. Climatic factors during early summer and amount of snow in April described the occurrence and incidence of SINV infections. Regulated water shore and hatch-year black grouse density described the occurrence, while population working in agriculture, agricultural land(negative) and income (negative) described the incidence of the disease. The prediction for 2009 was 85 cases (95% prediction interval 2-1187), while the actual occurrence was 106. We identified novel and known risk factors. The prevention of SINV infections in regulated water areas by infected mosquito populations should be targeted.
Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. israelensis (Bti) is a soil-borne bacterium affiliated to the Bacillus cereus group (Bcg) and has been used in biocontrol products against nematoceran larvae for several decades. However, knowledge is limited on whether long-term Bti application can affect the structure of indigenous communities of Bcg and the overall abundance of Bti. Using species- and group-specific quantitative PCR assays, we measured the Bcg- and Bti-abundances in riparian wetlands in the River Dalälven floodplains of central Sweden. On five occasions during one vegetative season, soil samples were collected in alder swamps and wet meadows which had been treated with Bti for mosquito larvae control during the preceding 11 years, as well as in untreated control sites and well-drained forests in the same area. The average abundance of Bcg in alder swamps was around three times higher than in wet meadows. Across all sites and habitats, the Bti treatments had no effect on the Bcg-abundance, whereas the Bti-abundance was significantly higher in the treated than in the control sites. However, for individual sampling sites, abundances of Bti and Bcg were not correlated with the number of Bti applications, indicating that added Bti possibly influenced the total population of Bti in the short term but had only a limited effect in the longer term. The findings of this study increase the understanding of the ecology of Bti applications for mosquito control, which can facilitate environmental risk assessment in connection with approval of microbiological control agents.
Culiseta incidens Thomson is distributed over most of the western USA and Canada northward to Alaska. Because this mosquito is difficult to colonize, its biology has not been well investigated. We colonized this species in 1998 and studied the effects of temperature on various aspects of its life cycle. The time required for egg melanization and the duration of the egg stage were negatively correlated with temperature. The proportion of fertile egg rafts was temperature-independent. An inverse relationship existed between temperature and egg hatch. Molting and stadium duration after hatching were temperature-dependent, with higher temperature accelerating development and molting. Larvae and pupae experienced lower mortality and higher molting success at lower temperatures. Survivorship of adult mosquitoes fed on sugar solution was inversely proportional to temperature, lethal times for 50% mortality (LT50) were greater at the lower temperature than at the higher temperature. Females survived longer than did males at all test temperatures. Because this species is eurygamous, mating only occurred in large cages. Mating success was also affected by temperature. At the test temperatures, 20 degrees C, 25 degrees C and 30 degrees C, mating started from 3-5 days after emergence and reached a peak on days 13-15 after emergence. Maximum mating rates at 20 degrees C and 25 degrees C were higher than at 30 degrees C. Blood feeding, as indicated by cumulative feeding rates, was affected by cage size, mosquito age and temperature. Mosquitoes in large cages exhibited a much higher feeding rate than in small cages. With age, the cumulative blood feeding rate increased, with the highest rate at 25 degrees C, followed by 20 degrees C and 30 degrees C. At all temperatures tested, most of the blood fed females were mated.
To successfully implement surveillance or control strategies for mosquitoes, up-to-date knowledge of regional species composition is vital. The last report regarding mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) in the Åland archipelago, southwestern Finland listed 19 species (Utrio, 1979). To determine the current species diversity, one collection trip was made to mainland Åland in 2015 and three in 2016. Mosquitoes (n?=?3286) were collected as both adult and immature life stages from 88 collections within 29 1-km2 areas. Fifteen of the 19 previously reported species were obtained, leaving the current status of four species uncertain. At least 11 species previously not reported from Åland, but confirmed on the Finnish mainland, were collected. Aedes geminus Peus was identified based on examination of the gonostylus, and represents a new species distribution for Finland. Anopheles maculipennis s.s. Meigen was confirmed from cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) and internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) sequence data and is reinstated on the list of Finnish species, along with Ochlerotatus sticticus (Meigen). Dahliana geniculata (Olivier) was found in two locations, in 2?months, indicating that there is an established population in Åland. The present data confirm that at least 27 species inhabit mainland Åland, rising to 31 when historical data are included. The Finnish mosquito fauna is increased from 38 to 41 species.