Medical and Veterinary Entomology (2003) 17, 102-111

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C.A. Johansen, R.A. Farrow, A. Morrisen, P. Foley, G. Bellis, A.F. Van Den Hurk, B. Montgomery, J.S. Mackenzie and S.A. Ritchie (2003)
Collection of wind-borne haematophagous insects in the Torres Strait, Australia
Medical and Veterinary Entomology 17 (1), 102-111
Abstract: Circumstantial evidence has implicated wind-borne mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) in the introduction of Japanese encephalitis (JE) virus into Australia from the New Guinea mainland. A study was initiated on Saibai Island in the northern Torres Strait, during January and February 2000, to identify the potential source of insects collected in aerial (kytoon) and surface-level traps. Wind speed and direction were recorded to determine wind profiles during insect sampling. Northerly winds capable of carrying insects from New Guinea to Saibai Island were only present on three out of 18 nights sampled. Only three male mosquitoes, comprising two Verrallina funerea (Theobald) and one Ochlerotatus vigilax (Skuse), were collected in aerial samples, and were most likely of local origin. Culicoides midges were also collected in aerial nets and included gravid/parous C. bundyensis Lee and Reye, and one parous C. histrio Johannsen. Highest densities of arthropods (up to 1562/million m3) were on 30 January 2000 when NW winds, sustained for six hours, probably introduced midges from the New Guinea mainland. Adult mosquitoes (including three female Ve. funerea and a single female Ficalbia) and Culicoides (including two gravid C. bundyensis and one parous C. cordiger Macfie) were also collected in 2 m high mast nets during northerly surface winds. Although the results do not provide evidence that wind-blown mosquitoes introduced JE from New Guinea into Australia, they do not preclude that strong N winds associated with low pressure systems SW of the Torres Strait could have done so. However, results suggest that Culicoides were more likely than mosquitoes to reach high altitude and travel long distances during the light N winds experienced during the study.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Cheryl Johansen, Scott A. Ritchie, Roger Farrow

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
population dynamics/ epidemiology

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Verrallina funerea Australia (NT+QLD)
Aedes vigilax Australia (NT+QLD)
Culicoides bundyensis Australia (NT+QLD)