Tiger mosquitos (Aedes albopictus) are not the only type of 6-legged vampires that take to the skies in summer – we now have a Japanese one.
Yes, the Aedes japonicus has unpacked its bags and is planning to stay in Europe. Hailing from as far away as Korea, Japan, Taiwan, China and Asiatic Russia, this type of mossie has been sneaking west since the 90s. How? By means of used tyres! No, not as locomotion, but as a breeding place because tyres often have little puddles of water inside – sneaky, eh?
Now, I didn’t make that up because it comes from the Centro de Coordinación de Alertas y Emergencias Sanitarias (CCAES).
The first time that they were detected in Europe was in the year 2000 in the North of France… It’s always the North of France, isn’t it? Black Death? North of France! Music to slash your wrists by? North of France! Shoulder-shrugging, speaks-no-known-Earthling-language, taxi drivers? North of France. You name it.
Anyway… The arrival of this Nibbling Nippon is the third invasive species of mosquito to arrive on our continent. Until recently, it has been buzzing around Germany, Switzerland, France, Austria and Slovenia.
Has it turned up here? You bet! It was first detected on the 10th of July, 2018 in Asturias. The people that announced its arrival are the ones that run Mosquito Alert, which is a volunteer set up coordinated by several public investigation entities.
According to its own website: “Mosquito Alert is a cooperative citizen science observatory coordinated by different public research institutions. Its main objective is to fight against the tiger mosquito and the yellow-fever mosquito expansions, two invasive species vectors of global diseases like Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya.”
Somebody sent a photo of a mossie to Mosquito Alert and one of its entomologists confirmed it. A team popped over to Asturias and found several specimen.
Professor Mikel Bengoa explained that the Japanese mosquito is settling around the north coast as it likes the cold and woodlands.
Are they dangerous? Well they are known to carry the West Nile virus, which it normally transmits to birds and horses, but has been known to transmit it to humans (in exchange for a slurp of blood).
What’s the difference between a tiger mosquito and a Japanese one? Now, some smart arse might say that one lunges at your juglar vein with its claws whilst the other dives from a great height and splats itself against any exposed skin but that would be hideously ‘not politically correct’ as well as not very helpful, so our advice would be, if a mosquito comes at you, squash it first, ask questions later.