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Institute of Infectology (IMED)

Invasive Mosquitoes in Germany

In the framework of a joint project on the nation-wide monitoring of culicid mosquitoes, scientists of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut and the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg, found three non-indigenous mosquito species in the Upper Rhine Valley, federal state of Baden-Württemberg. According to the data analysis, the mosquito females were trapped in July and August 2011. The results have been published in the scientific journal Eurosurveillance:

Werner D, Kronefeld M, Schaffner F, Kampen H. Two invasive mosquito species, Aedes albopictus and Aedes japonicus japonicus, trapped in south-west Germany, July to August 2011 . Euro Surveill. 2012;17(4):pii=20067. Available online:

It was only the second time after 2007 that the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, an efficient vector of numerous arboviruses, was demonstrated in Germany. This mosquito species has been spreading in southern Europe for a considerable time and was made responsible for a chikungunya fever epidemic in northern Italy in 2007. The female mosquito was trapped next to the A5 motorway close to the German-Swiss border and had probably been imported by vehicle transport from southern Europe. Long distance vehicle transportation has long been suspected as a major mode of dispersal of anthropophilic mosquitoes.

Of the Asian bush mosquito, Aedes japonicus, several individuals were captured. Since 2009, larvae and pupae of this species had been repeatedly found during other studies in south-west Germany where it appears to have become established. Being a competent vector of some viruses in the laboratory, little is known of this species as a vector under natural conditions. The third species detected, Culiseta longiareolata, is of Mediterranean origin and seems to have colonized some neighbouring areas of northern Switzerland and French Alsace, too. Since this species is preferentially ornithophilic, its potential to transmit human pathogenic agents of disease must be considered minor. Using traps equipped with special mosquito odour attractants (BG Sentinel), all three species have been caught in Germany as adults for the very first time.

The demonstration of the three non-indigenous mosquito species confirms that the Upper Rhine Valley is a particularly sensitive region for the introduction and establishment of invasive species. This is where the highly frequented A5 motorway, a merger route of major traffic axes coming from the south, enters Germany. In addition, the Upper Rhine Valley is characterized by a relatively mild climate, caused by Mediterranean air currents streaming in from the south.