uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
The arbovirus vector Culex torrentium is more prevalent than Culex pipiens in northern and central Europe
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
Show others and affiliations
2014 (English)In: Medical and Veterinary Entomology, ISSN 0269-283X, E-ISSN 1365-2915, Vol. 28, no 2, 179-186 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Two species of arbovirus vector, Culex torrentium and Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae), occur in several European countries, but difficulties in their accurate identification and discrimination have hampered both detailed and large-scale distribution and abundance studies. Using a molecular identification method, we identified to species 2559 larvae of Cx. pipiens/torrentium collected from 138 sites in 13 European countries ranging from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean coast. In addition, samples of 1712 males of Cx. pipiens/torrentium collected at several sites in the Czech Republic were identified to species based on the morphology of their hypopygia. We found that the two species occur together in large areas of Europe, and that Cx. torrentium dominates in northern Europe and Cx. pipiens dominates south of the Alps. The transition in dominance occurs in central Europe, where both species are roughly equally common. There was a strong correlation between the length of the growing season at different sites and occurrences of the two species. As the growing season increases, the proportion and detection of Cx. torrentium decrease, whereas those of Cx. pipiens increase. The present findings have important consequences for the interpretation of the results of studies on major enzootic and link-vectors of mosquito-borne bird-associated viruses (i.e. Sindbis, West Nile and Usutu viruses), especially in central Europe and Scandinavia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 28, no 2, 179-186 p.
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Animal Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-219402DOI: 10.1111/mve.12024ISI: 000337572500007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-219402DiVA: diva2:699698
Available from: 2014-02-28 Created: 2014-02-28 Last updated: 2015-01-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Clearing up Culex Confusion: A Basis for Virus Vector Discrimination in Europe
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Clearing up Culex Confusion: A Basis for Virus Vector Discrimination in Europe
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Mosquito species of the Culex genus are the enzootic vectors for several bird-associated viruses that cause disease in humans. In Europe, these viruses include Sindbis (SINV), West Nile and Usutu viruses. The morphologically similar females of Cx. torrentium and Cx. pipiens are potential vectors of these viruses, but difficulties in correctly identifying the mosquito species have caused confusion regarding their respective distribution, abundance, ecology, and consequently their importance as vectors. Species-specific knowledge from correctly identified field material is however of crucial importance since previous research shows that the relatively unknown Cx. torrentium is a far more efficient SINV vector than the widely recognized Cx. pipiens. The latter is involved in the transmission of several other viruses, but its potential importance for SINV transmission is debated.

In this thesis I describe the development of a molecular method for species identification, based on reliably identified males of Cx. torrentium and Cx. pipiens. This identification method was then used in consecutive studies on the distribution and relative abundance of the two species in Sweden and 12 other European countries, SINV field infection rates in mosquitoes identified to species level, and evaluation of potential trap bias associated with common sampling techniques.

The results showed that Cx. torrentium is a far more common species in Europe than previously assumed. In Sweden and Finland, it is the dominant species, accounting for 89% of the sampled Culex population. In central Europe, it is equally common to Cx. pipiens, while Cx. pipiens dominates south of the Alps Mountain range. Larvae of both species are often found together in both artificial containers (e.g. car tires) and natural sites. Also, a trapping bias against Cx. torrentium was revealed for CDC-traps. For the first time, SINV was isolated from species-identified Cx. torrentium and Cx. pipiens mosquitoes caught in the field, with Cx. torrentium being superior in infection rates (36/1,000 vs. 8.2/1,000). Future studies on SINV, as well as other mosquito-borne bird viruses in Europe, can hopefully gain from the baseline information provided here, and from principles of vector discrimination discussed in the thesis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. 56 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1185
Culex torrentium, Culex pipiens, mosquitoes, vector, ornithophilic, Sindbis virus, West Nile virus
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Population Biology
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-232726 (URN)978-91-554-9044-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-11-07, Zootissalen, Villavägen 9, 2 tr, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-10-17 Created: 2014-09-23 Last updated: 2015-01-23

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Hesson, Jenny C.Östman, ÖrjanLundström, Jan O.
By organisation
Animal ecologyPopulation and Conservation BiologyDepartment of Ecology and Genetics
In the same journal
Medical and Veterinary Entomology
Biological Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

Altmetric score

Total: 299 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link