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The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is a highly invasive species and a vector of multiple pathogens including various viruses, such as chikungunya, dengue, and Zika. A new Medical and Veterinary Entomology study that evaluated the relationship between the mosquito's presence and habitat variables at a small scale provides important information for planning effective prevention and control campaigns.
When investigators examined mosquito populations on Mallorca Island off the coast of Spain, they found that Ae. Albopictus presence was negatively associated with altitude, probably due to greater human presence at low altitudes near the coast. Moreover, Ae. albopictus presence was positively associated with the extent of fresh water surface (mainly swimming pools), due to nearby gardens, plants, and freshwater sources. The researchers combined these two variables to predict the presence of the species on the entire island at a small scale.
"Given the widespread presence of Asian tiger mosquito on Mallorca Island and its association with human activities, the removal of potential breeding sites by citizen intervention will be essential to improve species control," said lead author Dr. Ana Sanz-Aguilar, of IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), in Spain.