The first record of the invasive mosquito species Aedes albopictus in Chişinău, Republic of Moldova, 2020.
Background: In Europe, Aedes albopictus is an important vector of chikungunya virus and Dirofilaria nematodes and has been involved in local autochthonous circulation of dengue and Zika viruses. Due to the ongoing spread, targeted field surveillance at potential points of entry of invasive Aedes mosquitoes was initiated by the Republic of Moldova in 2020 as part of the transboundary "Invasive Aedes Mosquitoes COST-Action project." Methods: In 2020, ovitraps were positioned at each of three locations: the border crossing to Romania in Leuşeni (Hancesti region), Chişinǎu International Airport and Chişinǎu Botanical Garden. Results: A total of 188 Aedes spp. eggs were collected at the Chişinǎu International Airport between August and September 2020. Twenty-three adults reared in the laboratory were identified morphologically as Ae. albopictus (Skuse, 1895), and 12 selected specimens were confirmed by molecular barcoding of the cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene region. In addition, one adult Ae. albopictus female at the same site was caught with a manual aspirator. Conclusions: This is the first documented report of Ae. albopictus in the Republic of Moldova. The presence of immature and adult stages indicates the local reproduction of the species in the country. Therefore, it is crucial to extend and strengthen surveillance of the invasive Aedes mosquitoes to prevent Ae. albopictus and other exotic mosquito species from becoming established in the Republic of Moldova.