MEMO: Monitoring of Exotic Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) in Belgium

Policy Concern Category: Public Health, Invasive species

Due to international trade, tourism, and climate/ecological changes, mosquito species can be transported, dispersed, or introduced and eventually become established in new territories. Since 2017, a nationwide three year monitoring project started, which is funded by the Belgian federal authorities and the federated entities, and aims at detecting and evaluating the occurrence of exotic mosquito species (EMS) in Belgium. Monitoring activities started with 23 points of entry (PoE) using adult trapping, as well as egg and larval sampling. EMS were found to enter Belgium effectively through different introduction pathways. The aim of the MEMO project is to better understand the introduction processes and pathways of the different exotic species. Within the project, BopCo operates as a subcontractor to the Institute of Tropical Medicine and is responsible for:
• Urgent molecular species identifications of potential exotic mosquitoes collected in Belgium in order to immediately confirm the morphology-based identifications.
• Quality control of morphology-based identifications performed by ITM in which the identifications of 5% of the mosquito specimens collected is verified using DNA-barcoding technology.

BopCo Coordinator: Nathalie Smitz

 

Publications:

  • Smitz, N., De Wolf, K., Gheysen, A., Deblauwe, I., Vanslembrouck, A., Meganck, K., De Witte, J., Schneider, A., Verlé, I., Dekoninck, W., Gombeer, S., Vanderheyden, A., De Meyer, M., Backeljau, T., Müller, R., Van Bortel, W. 2021 'DNA identification of species of the Anopheles maculipennis complex and first record of An. daciae in Belgium'. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 2021: 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1111/mve.12519
  • Smitz, N., De Wolf, K., Deblauwe, I., Kampen, H., Schaffner, F., De Witte, J., Schneider, A., Verlé, I., Vanslembrouck, A., Dekoninck, W., Meganck, K., Gombeer, S., Vanderheyder, A., De Meyer, M., Backeljau, T., Werner, D., Müller, R., Van Bortel, W. 2021 'Population genetic structure of the Asian bush mosquito, Aedes japonicus (Diptera, Culicidae), in Belgium suggests multiple introductions'. Parasites & Vectors 14:179. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-021-04676-8
  • De Wolf, K., Vanderheyden, A., Deblauwe, I., Smitz, N., Gombeer, S., Vanslembrouck, A., Meganck, K., Dekoninck, W., De Meyer, M., Backeljau, T., Müller, R. & Van Bortel, W. 2021. 'First record of the West Nile virus bridge vector Culex modestus Ficalbi (Diptera: Culicidae) in Belgium, validated by DNA barcoding'. Zootaxa 4920 (1): 131-139.
  • Ibáñez-Justicia, A., Smitz, N., den Hartog, W., van de Vossenberg, B., De Wolf, K., Deblauwe, I., Van Bortel, W., Jacobs, F., Vaux, A.G., Medlock, J.M. & Stroo, A. 2020. 'Detection of Exotic Mosquito Species (Diptera: Culicidae) at International Airports in Europe'. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(10), 3450. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17103450
  • Smitz, N. ‘BopCo – MEMO: Monitoring of Exotic Mosquitoes; L’ADN, un outil pour l’identification d’espèces de moustiques exotiques recensés en Belgique’. BFSO Magazine 2019, 10-12. Link

 

Presentations:

  • Honnen, A.-C., Augusten, X., Deblauwe, I., Führer, H.-P., Ibanez-Justicia, A., Smitz, N., De Wolf, K., Van Bortel, W. & Müller, P. 2020. 'Aedes japonicus in Switzerland - where did it come from?'. 2nd AIM-COST Annual Conference, 12-13 February 2020. Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Ibanez-Justicia, A., Smitz, N., van de Vossenberg, B., Jacobs, F., den Hartog, W., De Wolf, K., Deblauwe, I., Van Bortel, W. & Stroo, A. 2020 'Aircaft related introductions of exotic mosquito species in Belgium and the Netherlands'. 2nd AIM-COST Annual Conference, 12-13 February 2020. Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Smitz, N.,  De Wolf, K.,  Deblauwe, I., De Witte, J., Schneider, A., Verlé, I., Vanslembrouck, A., Dekoninck, W.,  Meganck, K.,  Gombeer, S.,  Vanderheyden, A.,  De Meyer, M.,  Backeljau, T. & Van Bortel, W. 2020. 'A DNA-based identification pipeline to discriminate between exotic and native mosquito species collected in Belgium'. 2nd AIM-COST Annual Conference, 12-13 February 2020. Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Müller, R., Van Bortel, W., Deblauwe, I. & De Wolf, K. 2019. 'Mosquito monitoring and mosquito-borne disease risk in Belgium'. Working group WILDLIFE (FASFC). Brussels, Belgium.
  • Smitz, N.,  De Wolf, K.,  Deblauwe, I.,  Verlé, I.,  Schneider, A.,  Vanslembrouck, A.,  De Witte, J.,  Dekoninck, W.,  Meganck, K.,  Gombeer, S.,  Vanderheyden, A.,  De Meyer, M.,  Backeljau, T. & Van Bortel, W. 2019. ‘Molecular validation of native and invasive mosquito species in Belgium’. Zoology 2019, 27-29 November 2019, Groningen, The Netherlands. PDF
  • Smitz, N.,  De Wolf, K.,  Deblauwe, I.,  Verlé, I.,  Schneider, A.,  Vanslembrouck, A.,  De Witte, J.,  Dekoninck, W.,  Meganck, K.,  Gombeer, S.,  Vanderheyden, A.,  De Meyer, M.,  Backeljau, T. & Van Bortel, W. 2019. ‘New Culicidae species records for Belgium validated using DNA-based techniques’. Zoology 2019, 27-29 November 2019, Groningen, The Netherlands. PDF
  • Deblauwe, I., D'hondt, B., Gosselin, P., De Wolf, K. & Van Bortel, W. 2019. 'The experience of controlling invasive Aedes mosquito species in Belgium'. IX International EMCA conference. La Rochelle, France.
  • Deblauwe, I., D'hondt, B., Gosselin, P., De Wolf, K. & Van Bortel, W. 2019. 'The experience of controlling invasive Aedes mosquito species in Belgium'. Workshop "Challenges in vector surveillance & control". Antwerp, Belgium.
  • Smitz, N., De Wolf, K., Deblauwe, I., Verlé, I., Schneider, A., Vanslembrouck, A., De Witte, J., Dekoninck, W., Meganck, K., Gombeer, S., Van Bourgonie, YR., De Meyer, M., Backeljau, T. & Van Bortel, W. 'A DNA-based approach to validate the identification of exotic mosquito species in Belgium'. 8th International Barcode of Life Conference, 17–20 June 2019. Trondheim, Norway.
  • Van Bortel, W., Deblauwe, I., De Wolf, K. & Müller, R. 2019. 'Mosquito monitoring and mosquito-borne diseases risk in Belgium'. Sciensano Symposium: Seminar "Infectious Diseases (SsID)| Diagnostic and surveillance of infectious diseases". Brussels, Belgium.
  • Smitz, N.,  De Wolf, K.,  Deblauwe, I.,  Verlé, I.,  Schneider, A.,  Vanslembrouck, A.,  De Witte, J.,  Dekoninck, W.,  Meganck, K.,  Gombeer, S.,  Van Bourgonie, YR.,  De Meyer, M.,  Backeljau, T. & Van Bortel, W. ‘DNA-barcoding: an efficient tool for rapid identification of native and exotic mosquito species (Diptera: Culicidae) intercepted in Belgium’. 25th Congress of Zoology, 13-14 December 2018, Antwerp, Belgium. PDF
  • Meganck, K., Smitz, N.,  De Wolf, K.,  Deblauwe, I.,  Verlé, I.,  Schneider, A.,  Vanslembrouck, A.,  De Witte, J.,  Dekoninck, W., Gombeer, S.,  Van Bourgonie, YR.,  De Meyer, M.,  Backeljau, T. & Van Bortel, W. ‘Identification and confirmation of native and invasive mosquito species in Belgium by DNA-barcoding’. Entomology in Belgium: Insects and Nature Management Symposium, 7 December 2018, Brussels, Belgium. PDF
  • Deblauwe, I.,  De Wolf, K.,  Smitz, N.,  Verlé, I.,  Schneider, A.,  De Witte, J.,  Vanslembrouck, A.,  Dekoninck, W.,  Meganck, K.,  Gombeer, S.,  Van Bourgonie, YR.,  Backeljau, T.,  De Meyer, M.,  Van Bortel, W. & Pollet, M. ‘Belgium on the lookout for exotic mosquito species (Diptera: Culicidae)’. 9th International congress of Dipterology, 25-30 November 2018, Windhoek, Namibia.
  • Deblauwe, I.,  De Wolf, K.,  Verlé, I.,  Schneider, A.,  Vanslembrouck, A.,  De Witte, J.,  Dekoninck, W.,  Smitz, N.,  De Meyer, M.,  Backeljau, T.,  Coosemans, M. & Van Bortel, W. ‘Monitoring exotic mosquito species in Belgium : an overview from 2007 - 2018’. 21st European Society for Vector Ecology (E-SOVE) conference, 22-26 October 2018, Palermo, Italy.
  • Vanslembrouck, A.,  De Wolf, K.,  Deblauwe, I.,  Verlé, I.,  Schneider, A.,  De Witte, J.,  Smitz, N.,  De Meyer, M.,  Van Bortel, W.,  Backeljau, T. & Dekoninck, W. ‘Constructing a morphological reference collection of native and exotic mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) species in Belgium ’. 21st European Society for Vector Ecology (E-SOVE) conference, 22-26 October 2018, Palermo, Italy.
  • De Wolf, K.,  Smitz, N.,  Deblauwe, I.,  Vanslembrouck, A.,  Meganck, K.,  Gombeer, S.,  Van Bourgonie, YR.,  Verlé, I.,  Schneider, A.,  De Witte, J.,  Dekoninck, W.,  Backeljau, T.,  De Meyer, M. & Van Bortel, W. ‘The state of the art of the exotic mosquito species in Belgium: new invasion pathways detected’. 21st European Society for Vector Ecology (E-SOVE) conference, 22-26 October 2018, Palermo, Italy.
  • Van Bortel, W. ‘Detection and identification of mosquito species (Culicidae) in Belgium’. LifeWatch.be Users & Stakeholders Meeting, 25-26 January 2018, Ostend, Belgium.
  • Smitz, N.,  Deblauwe, I.,  Dekoninck, W.,  De Wolf, K.,  Meganck, K.,  Gombeer, S.,  De Meyer, M.,  Backeljau, T.,  Coosemans, M. & Van Bortel, W. 'Monitoring of Exotic MOsquitoes in Belgium (MEMO): molecular validations of morphological species identifications'. 24th Congress of Zoology, 23-24 November 2017, Wageningen, The Netherlands. PDF

Partners & Collaborators: Institute of Tropical Medicine (Belgium); Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (Belgium)

    

Links:

Tiger mosquitoes spotted in Belgium in 2019
Le moustique tigre se propage en Belgique
ITM on the lookout for tiger mosquitoes  
MEMO Project - Exotic mosquitoes in Belgium   
New sightings of tiger mosquitoes in Belgium 
DNA of exotic mosquitoes under scrutiny   
Les tigres à nouveau en Belgique  

Pictures:

         

           

 

Database: not yet published

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith