Approaches to passive mosquito surveillance in the EU

Helge Kampen*, Jolyon M. Medlock, Alexander G.C. Vaux, Constantianus J.M. Koenraadt, Arnold J.H. Van Vliet, Frederic Bartumeus, Aitana Oltra, Carla A. Sousa, Sébastien Chouin, Doreen Werner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


The recent emergence in Europe of invasive mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease associated with both invasive and native mosquito species has prompted intensified mosquito vector research in most European countries. Central to the efforts are mosquito monitoring and surveillance activities in order to assess the current species occurrence, distribution and, when possible, abundance, in order to permit the early detection of invasive species and the spread of competent vectors. As active mosquito collection, e.g. by trapping adults, dipping preimaginal developmental stages or ovitrapping, is usually cost-, time- and labour-intensive and can cover only small parts of a country, passive data collection approaches are gradually being integrated into monitoring programmes. Thus, scientists in several EU member states have recently initiated programmes for mosquito data collection and analysis that make use of sources other than targeted mosquito collection. While some of them extract mosquito distribution data from zoological databases established in other contexts, community-based approaches built upon the recognition, reporting, collection and submission of mosquito specimens by citizens are becoming more and more popular and increasingly support scientific research. Based on such reports and submissions, new populations, extended or new distribution areas and temporal activity patterns of invasive and native mosquito species were found. In all cases, extensive media work and communication with the participating individuals or groups was fundamental for success. The presented projects demonstrate that passive approaches are powerful tools to survey the mosquito fauna in order to supplement active mosquito surveillance strategies and render them more focused. Their ability to continuously produce biological data permits the early recognition of changes in the mosquito fauna that may have an impact on biting nuisance and the risk of pathogen transmission associated with mosquitoes. International coordination to explore synergies and increase efficiency of passive surveillance programmes across borders needs to be established.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by Science and Technology Support Program of Sichuan Province (Grant No. 2015SZ0201), Special Fund for Agroscientific Research in the Public Interest (Grant No. 201203062) and Chang-jiang Scholars and the Innovative Research Team in University (Grant No. IRT0848).

Funding Information:
“” started in 2013 as a pilot project, aiming at exploring alternatives to traditional and costly environmental awareness actions for Ae. albopictus in Catalonia, northeastern Spain. Since its first detection in 2004 near Barcelona [28], Ae. albopictus has spread southwards along the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Detection patterns suggest a spread in jumps, with Ae. albopictus detected quickly in locations distant from the initial sightings [47-52]. Currently, the abundance of Ae. albopictus is very high in some urban areas. In Catalonia, for example, the species requires considerable direct control and management costs and non-negligible indirect costs to the touristic and real-estate sectors [53]. Due to the high direct costs, surveillance and control efforts are mainly restricted to specific locations and regions at certain times. “” is led by a research group on movement ecology (ICREA Movement Ecology Laboratory, CEAB-CSIC), funded primarily by FECYT (Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology) and supported by an increasing number of other public and private institutions. The project builds upon three main pillars: i) face to face training workshops, ii) a multi-purpose online space (i.e. the project website, www.atrapaeltigre. com) and iii) a mobile phone app (Tigatrapp), the main participatory element. Using the app, citizens are asked to report adult tiger mosquito sightings and breeding spots that are automatically updated on a map on the project website. For this, volunteers answer a survey consisting of three questions about the mosquito/breeding site characteristics used for data validation purposes, add the location coordinates using either GPS or selecting a location on a map, and may also voluntarily attach pictures, write accompanying notes and send possible tiger mosquito specimens by post.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Kampen et al.; licensee BioMed Central.


  • Citizen science
  • Community participation
  • Invasive mosquitoes
  • Mosquito inventory
  • Passive surveillance
  • Vectors


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