Aedes vittatus in Spain: Current distribution, barcoding characterization and potential role as a vector of human diseases

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Abstract

Background: Aedes vittatus is currently found in Africa, Asia and Europe, where it acts as a vector of pathogens causing animal and human diseases (e.g. chikungunya, Zika and dengue). Like other Aedes species, Ae. vittatus is able to breed in artificial containers. The ECDC has recently highlighted the need for molecular tools (i.e. barcoding characterization) that enable Aedes species to be identified in entomological surveys. Results: We sampled mosquito larvae and adults in southern Spain and used a molecular approach to amplify and sequence a fragment of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (barcoding region) of the mosquitoes. The blast comparison of the mosquito sequences isolated from Spain with those deposited in public databases provided a ≥ 99% similarity with sequences for two Aedes mosquitoes, Ae. vittatus and Ae. cogilli, while similarities with other Aedes species were ≤ 94%. Aedes cogilli is only present in India and there are no records of this species from Europe. Conclusions: Due to the low genetic differences between Ae. vittatus and Ae. cogilli, the barcoding region should not be used as the only method for identifying Ae. vittatus, especially in areas where both of these Aedes species are present. This type of analysis should thus be combined with morphological identification using available keys and/or the characterization of other molecular markers. In addition, further entomological surveys should be conducted in order to identify the fine-scale distribution of this mosquito species in Europe.

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Díez-Fernández, A., Martínez-De La Puente, J., Ruiz, S., Gutiérrez-López, R., Soriguer, R., & Figuerola, J. (2018). Aedes vittatus in Spain: Current distribution, barcoding characterization and potential role as a vector of human diseases. Parasites and Vectors, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-018-2879-4

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