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A comprehensive new study on feeding patterns of tiger mosquitoes in Europe

Spanish scientists have conducted the most complete study to date of the feeding patterns of the tiger mosquito in Europe

This study, recently published in the international journal Insects, was conducted by researchers from the University of Granada, the Doñana Biological Station, and the Center for Biomedical Research Networks of Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP)

Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR), Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC) and the Center for Biomedical Research Networks for Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP) conducted the most comprehensive study yet of tiger eating patterns. Mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) and other invasive species of the same genus in Europe. The study results were recently published in the international journal Insects.

This research, which reviews all previously published studies on the topic, shows that these types of mosquitoes feed on different groups of vertebrates, especially mammals, and humans are also common hosts. Not surprisingly, human blood accounts for 93% of the blood meals of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, the mosquito responsible for yellow fever.

Mosquitoes are one of the main groups of insect vectors – that is, insects involved in transmitting major pathogens that adversely affect humans, livestock and wildlife. As with other animal groups, different types of invading mosquitoes arose in areas outside their original range. This is the case with different species of mosquitoes of the genus Aedes aegypti, which are of particular importance from a public health perspective, due to their ability to transmit pathogens that cause serious diseases.

“Thus, the emergence of these species could modify the local epidemiology of many pathogens in invaded areas, including pathogens that naturally spread into the environment, or imported pathogens,” explains one of the work’s authors, José Martinez de la Puente, researcher in the Department of Parasitology at the University of Granada.

To date, four invasive species of the genus Aedes albopictus have established groups in Europe, which include related vector species such as the tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus.

Blood meals

To complete their life cycle and develop their eggs, female mosquitoes require blood meals taken from different vertebrate hosts. In addition to causing discomfort, the bites that cause it can transmit various pathogens. Therefore, this blood feeding behavior is an essential factor, the importance of which must be studied in order to understand the epidemiology of various diseases. In this review article, we study the feeding patterns of these four invading mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti genus in Europe, ”explains Martinez de la Puente.

The results show that these mosquito species feed on different groups of vertebrates, especially mammals. Humans are common hosts for these mosquitoes, and they account for 93% of the blood meals of the Aedes aegypti species. In addition, mosquitoes are able to feed on the blood of other vertebrate groups, including birds and even animals that are out of heat (those whose body temperature changes in line with the temperature of the environment).

The researchers concluded that due to their ability to transmit different pathogens and their feeding rates among humans, invasive mosquito species of the Aedes aegypti genus may have a significant impact on the transmission of these pathogens in urban and semi-urban areas.

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