Community analysis of the abundance and diversity of mosquito species (Diptera : Culicidae) in three European countries at different latitudes

Mohlmann, Tim W.R.; Wennergren, Uno; Tälle, Malin; Favia, Guido; Damiani, Claudia; Bracchetti, Luca; Koenraadt, Constantianus J.M.


Background: Studies on mosquito species diversity in Europe often focus on a specific habitat, region or country. Moreover, different trap types are used for these sampling studies, making it difficult to compare and validate results across Europe. To facilitate comparisons of trapping sites and community analysis, the present study used two trap types for monitoring mosquito species diversity in three habitat types for three different countries in Europe. Methods: Mosquitoes were trapped using Biogents Sentinel (BGS), and Mosquito Magnet Liberty Plus (MMLP) traps at a total of 27 locations in Sweden, the Netherlands and Italy, comprising farm, peri-urban and wetland habitats. From July 2014 to June 2015 all locations were sampled monthly, except for the winter months. Indices of species richness, evenness and diversity were calculated, and community analyses were carried out with non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) techniques. Results: A total of 11,745 female mosquitoes were trapped during 887 collections. More than 90% of the mosquitoes belonged to the genera Culex and Aedes, with Culex pipiens being the most abundant species. The highest mosquito diversity was found in Sweden. Within Sweden, species diversity was highest in wetland habitats, whereas in the Netherlands and Italy this was highest at farms. The NMDS analyses showed clear differences in mosquito communities among countries, but not among habitat types. The MMLP trapped a higher diversity of mosquito species than the BGS traps. Also, MMLP traps trapped higher numbers of mosquitoes, except for the genera Culex and Culiseta in Italy. Conclusions: A core mosquito community could be identified for the three countries, with Culex pipiens as the most abundant species. Differences in mosquito species communities were more defined by the three countries included in the study than by the three habitat types. Differences in mosquito community composition across countries may have implications for disease emergence and further spread throughout Europe. Future research should, therefore, focus on how field data of vector communities can be incorporated into models, to better assess the risk of mosquito-borne disease outbreaks.