Eritja, Roger; Palmer, John R. B.; Roiz, David; Sanpera-Calbet, Isis; Bartumeus, Frederic. Scientific Reports 7: 14399 (2017) DIGITAL CSIC
Whereas the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) has low active dispersal capabilities, its worldwide colonization has been rapid. Indirect evidence and informal reports have long implicated passive transportation in cars, but this has not previously been studied systematically given the difficulties of real-time roadside surveys. Here we report the first sampling study confirming that adult tiger mosquitoes travel with humans in cars and enabling us to estimate the frequency of these events. We combine the results with citizen science data to model the car-facilitated dispersal of Aedes albopictus at a nationwide level. During the summer of 2015, we sampled 770 cars in north-eastern Spain, discovering 4 adult female tiger mosquitoes that had entered cars prior to sampling. Our Bayesian model suggests that of the 6.5 million daily car trips in the Barcelona metropolitan area, between 13,000 and 71,500 facilitate tiger mosquito movement, and that Barcelona is the largest source of interprovince tiger mosquito transfers in Spain. Our results are supported by expert-validated citizen science data, and will contribute to better understanding the tiger mosquito’s invasion process and ultimately lead to more effective vector control strategies.