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Humans help Invasive tiger mosquitos

Since 2012 Mallorca Island, off the coast of Spain,  has experienced rapid colonisation by the Asian tiger mosquito.  This was not anticipated because the natural climatic conditions on the island were not considered optimal for the species.  So what has been encouraging their colonisation of the Island?  The answer it seems is humans. 

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.

a tiger mosquito - photo Mikel Bengoa

Swimming pools

Mallorca is a highly populated island of the Balearic archpelago and a major tourist destination, and more than 6% of the island’s surface had been urbanised by 2006.


When investigators examined mosquito populations on Mallorca Island, they found that tiger mosquito's presence was negatively associated with altitude, probably due to greater human presence at low altitudes near the coast. Moreover, the species presence was mainly associated with the presence of fresh water surfaces (mainly swimming pools), due to nearby gardens, plants, and other freshwater sources.  

The authors say that although chlorine or salty water in swimming pools do not represent suitable habitats for the tiger mosquito, the positive association with this variable is likely to be attributable to the gardens associated with these features.  

Citizen intervention essential in controlling the invasion

Lead author Dr Ana Sanz-Aguilar of the University of the Balearic Islands says: “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.”  


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