Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Assessing the distribution of invasive Asian mosquitoes in northern Italy and modelling the potential spread of Aedes koreicus in Europe.

Abstract

In the last decade, Aedes koreicus and Aedes japonicus japonicus mosquitoes, which are competent vectors for various arboviruses of public health relevance, colonised Italy and other European countries. Nevertheless, information about their current and potential distribution is partial. Accordingly, in this study four regions of Northern Italy (Lombardy, Liguria, Piedmont and Aosta Valley) were surveyed during 2021 for the presence of eggs, larvae and pupae of these two invasive species. We found evidence for a widespread presence of Ae. koreicus in pre-Alpine territories of Lombardy and Piedmont. Larvae from the invasive subspecies of Ae. j. japonicus were also collected in the same geographic areas, though they were less frequent. Occurrence data from this study and results from previous monitoring campaigns were used to generate a Maxent model for the prediction of habitat suitability for Ae. koreicus mosquitoes in Northern Italy and the rest of Europe. Peri-urban areas located in proximity to forests, pastures and vineyards were revealed as highly suitable environments for colonisation by this invasive species. Maps of the potential distribution also suggest the presence of further suitable areas in currently uncolonized countries. We conclude that this invasive mosquito species has the potential for a broad expansion at the European level in the coming decades.