Is Switzerland suitable for the invasion of Aedes albopictus?

Neteler, Markus and Metz, Markus and Rocchini, Duccio and Rizzoli, Annapaola and Flacio, Eleonora and Engeler, Lukas and Guidi, Valeria and Lüthy, Peter and Tonolla, Mauro (2013) Is Switzerland suitable for the invasion of Aedes albopictus? PloS one, 8 (12). e82090. ISSN 1932-6203

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BACKGROUND Over the last 30 years, the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, has rapidly spread around the world. The European distribution comprises the Mediterranean basin with a first appearance in Switzerland in 2003. Early identification of the most suitable areas in Switzerland allowing progressive invasion by this species is considered crucial to suggest adequate surveillance and control plans. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS We identified the most suitable areas for invasion and establishment of Ae. albopictus in Switzerland. The potential distribution areas linked to the current climatic suitability were assessed using remotely sensed land surface temperature data recorded by the MODIS satellite sensors. Suitable areas for adult survival and overwintering of diapausing eggs were also identified for future climatic conditions, considering two different climate change scenarios (A1B, A2) for the periods 2020-2049 and 2045-2074. At present, the areas around Lake Geneva in western Switzerland provide suitable climatic conditions for Ae. albopictus. In northern Switzerland, parts of the Rhine valley, around Lake Constance, as well as the surroundings of Lake Neuchâtel, appear to be suitable for the survival at least of adult Ae. albopictus. However, these areas are characterized by winters currently being too cold for survival and development of diapausing eggs. In southern Switzerland, Ae. albopictus is already well-established, especially in the Canton of Ticino. For the years 2020-2049, the predicted possible spread of the tiger mosquito does not differ significantly from its potential current distribution. However, important expansions are obtained if the period is extended to the years 2045-2074, when Ae. albopictus may invade large new areas. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE Several parts of Switzerland provide suitable climatic conditions for invasion and establishment of Ae. albopictus. The current distribution and rapid spread in other European countries suggest that the tiger mosquito will colonize new areas in Switzerland in the near future.

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