Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Application of deep learning to community-science-based mosquito monitoring and detection of novel species.

Abstract

Mosquito-borne diseases account for human morbidity and mortality worldwide, caused by the parasites (e.g., malaria) or viruses (e.g., dengue, Zika) transmitted through bites of infected female mosquitoes. Globally, billions of people are at risk of infection, imposing significant economic and public health burdens. As such, efficient methods to monitor mosquito populations and prevent the spread of these diseases are at a premium. One proposed technique is to apply acoustic monitoring to the challenge of identifying wingbeats of individual mosquitoes. Although researchers have successfully used wingbeats to survey mosquito populations, implementation of these techniques in areas most affected by mosquito-borne diseases remains challenging. Here, methods utilizing easily accessible equipment and encouraging community-scientist participation are more likely to provide sufficient monitoring. We present a practical, community-science-based method of monitoring mosquito populations using smartphones. We applied deep-learning algorithms (TensorFlow Inception v3) to spectrogram images generated from smartphone recordings associated with six mosquito species to develop a multiclass mosquito identification system, and flag potential invasive vectors not present in our sound reference library. Though TensorFlow did not flag potential invasive species with high accuracy, it was able to identify species present in the reference library at an 85% correct identification rate, an identification rate markedly higher than similar studies employing expensive recording devices. Given that we used smartphone recordings with limited sample sizes, these results are promising. With further optimization, we propose this novel technique as a way to accurately and efficiently monitor mosquito populations in areas where doing so is most critical.