Incursion pathways of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) into Australia contrast sharply with those of the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti).
BACKGROUND: Understanding pest incursion pathways is critical for preventing new invasions and for stopping the transfer of alleles that reduce the efficacy of local control methods. The mosquitoes Aedes albopictus (Skuse) and Ae. aegypti (Linnaeus) are both highly invasive disease vectors, and through a series of ongoing international incursions are continuing to colonize new regions and spread insecticide resistance alleles among established populations. This study uses high-resolution molecular markers and a set of 241 reference genotypes to trace incursion pathways of Ae. albopictus into mainland Australia, where no successful invasions have yet been observed. We contrast these results with incursion pathways of Ae. aegypti, investigated previously. RESULTS: Assignments successfully identified China, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan as source locations. Incursion pathways of Ae. albopictus were entirely different to those of Ae. aegypti, despite broad sympatry of these species throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Incursions of Ae. albopictus appeared to have come predominantly along marine routes from key trading locations, while Ae. aegypti was mostly linked to aerial routes from tourism hotspots. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate how genomics can help decipher otherwise cryptic incursion pathways. The inclusion of reference genotypes from the Americas may help resolve some unsuccessful assignments. While many congeneric taxa will share common incursion pathways, this study highlights that this is not always the case, and incursion pathways of important taxa should be specifically investigated. Species differences in aerial and marine incursion rates may reflect the efficacy of ongoing control programmes such as aircraft disinsection.