Luděk Berec, Ivan Gelbič, Oldřich Šebesta; Worthy of Their Name: How Floods Drive Outbreaks of Two Major Floodwater Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae). J Med Entomol 2014; 51 (1): 76-88. doi: 10.1603/ME12255
An understanding of how climate variables drive seasonal dynamics of mosquito populations is critical to mitigating negative impacts of potential outbreaks, including both nuisance effects and risk of mosquito-borne infectious disease. Here, we identify climate variables most affecting seasonal dynamics of two major floodwater mosquitoes, Aedes vexans (Meigen, 1830) and Aedes sticticus (Meigen, 1838) (Diptera: Culicidae), along the lower courses of the Dyje River, at the border between the Czech Republic and Austria. Monthly trap counts of both floodwater mosquitoes varied both across sites and years. Despite this variability, both models used to fit the observed data at all sites (and especially that for Ae. sticticus) and site-specific models fitted the observed data quite well. The most important climate variables we identified—temperature and especially flooding—were driving seasonal dynamics of both Aedes species. We suggest that flooding determines seasonal peaks in the monthly mosquito trap counts while temperature modulates seasonality in these counts. Hence, floodwater mosquitoes indeed appear worthy of their name. Moreover, the climate variables we considered for modeling were able reasonably to predict mosquito trap counts in the month ahead. Our study can help in planning flood management; timely notification of people, given that these mosquitoes are a real nuisance in this region; public health policy management to mitigate risk from such mosquito-borne diseases as that caused in humans by the Tahyna virus; and anticipating negative consequences of climate change, which are expected only to worsen unless floods, or the mosquitoes themselves, are satisfactorily managed.