Day-biting mosquito species spreading its range in Austria

Nowotny and Bernhard Seidel demand appropriate measures against the spread of the bush mosquito. (Photo: Norbert Nowotny)

Nowotny  1

Endemic house mosquitoes that are active in the evening hours are enough of a nuisance. In the long term, the diurnal Asian bush mosquito could pester us during the rest of the day as well. For the first time, the mosquito has now been documented in the border areas with northern Italy and Hungary. The Asian bush mosquito is capable of rapid reproduction and without sustainable control measures has the potential to become a new type of plague. Two studies in the journal Parasites & Vectors summarize the findings of a team including Norbert Nowotny of the Vetmeduni Vienna, Bernhard Seidel, and the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety (AGES).

Until a few years ago the Asian bush mosquito, Aedes japonicus, was not yet present in Europe. Now it is spreading its range in several European countries, including Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

Day-biting and highly reproductive

The Asian bush mosquito has a high reproductive potential, which has been a factor in its uncontrolled spread. For people living in the colonized areas, this means having to deal with large swarms of multiple-biting mosquitoes.

Like the floodwater mosquito, the Asian bush mosquito is a day biter that is active even outside of the summer months. In the study, Ae. japonicus was found to be active from the beginning of March to the end of November. It therefore combines behavioural traits of both the floodwater mosquito and the common house mosquito.

On the advance in Austria, Hungary and northern Italy

Since 2011 the invasive species has since established itself in southern, southwestern and western Austria, as documented by regular sampling from these areas. And it is constantly invading new areas. From Carinthia, the Asian bush mosquito recently reached northern Italy. Before that, it had already spread from eastern Styria and southern Burgenland to Hungary and has already reached Lake Balaton.

Mosquito monitoring also reveals isolated populations

The Asian bush mosquito presumably reached Europe in imported automobile tyres. “Puddles of water in the tyres offer excellent breeding conditions for this biting mosquito,” explains Norbert Nowotny of Vetmeduni Vienna. This explains how the Asian bush mosquito has not only spread inland but can also be found in isolated populations. The mosquito reached Vorarlberg via Switzerland. In Tyrol, on the other hand, only a single isolated population has been found so far in Kufstein.

More information: press release "Day-biting mosquito species spreading its range in Austria"; 2

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