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Open AccessArticle

Potential Distribution of Aedes (Ochlerotatus) scapularis (Diptera: Culicidae): A Vector Mosquito New to the Florida Peninsula

1
Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, Department of Entomology & Nematology, IFAS, University of Florida, 200 9th St SE, Vero Beach, FL 32962, USA
2
Broward Mosquito Control Section, 1201 W Airport Rd., Pembroke Pines, FL 33024, USA
3
Miami-Dade Mosquito Control Division, 8901 NW 58 St., Miami, FL 33178, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Insects 2021, 12(3), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12030213
Received: 19 December 2020 / Revised: 24 February 2021 / Accepted: 26 February 2021 / Published: 3 March 2021
Aedes scapularis is an important mosquito species capable of transmitting viruses and parasites to humans and animals. Aedes scapularis was previously known to occur throughout large portions of the Americas, from the lower Rio Grande Valley of southern Texas to Argentina and on several Caribbean Islands. Recently, this mosquito became established in southern Florida, marking the first time Ae. scapularis was found on the Florida Peninsula. Now that Ae. scapularis has reached the Florida Peninsula, it is expected to continue to expand its geographic distribution to fill contiguous areas with suitable environments. Here, we use a modeling approach that correlates environmental variables with known geographic collection locations of Ae. scapularis to predict the potential distribution of this species. The output of this model provides new information for mosquito control and public health agencies to help monitor the spread of this exotic vector mosquito and suggests a need for surveillance for the expansion of this mosquito in many of Florida’s coastal counties.
Aedes scapularis is a neotropical mosquito known to transmit pathogens of medical and veterinary importance. Its recent establishment in southeastern Florida has potential public health implications. We used an ecological niche modeling approach to predict the abiotic environmental suitability for Ae. scapularis across much of the Americas and Caribbean Islands. Georeferenced occurrence data obtained from the Global Biodiversity Inventory Facility and recent collection records of Ae. scapularis from southern Florida served as input for model calibration. Environmental layers included bioclimatic variables provided in 2000 to 2010 average Modern Era Retrospective-analysis for Research and Applications climatic (MERRAclim) data. Models were run in the software program Maxent. Isothermality values often found in costal environments, had the greatest contribution to model performance. Model projections suggested that there are areas predicted to be suitable for Ae. Scapularis across portions of the Amazon Basin, the Yucatán Peninsula, the Florida Peninsula, and multiple Caribbean Islands. Additionally, model predictions suggested connectivity of highly suitable or relatively suitable environments spanning the United States Gulf Coast, which may facilitate the geographic expansion of this species. At least sixteen Florida counties were predicted to be highly suitable for Ae. scapularis, suggesting that vigilance is needed by vector control and public health agencies to recognize the further spread of this vector. View Full-Text
Keywords: invasive species; Aedes; ecological niche models; species distribution models; vector surveillance invasive species; Aedes; ecological niche models; species distribution models; vector surveillance
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MDPI and ACS Style

Campbell, L.P.; Burkett-Cadena, N.D.; Miqueli, E.; Unlu, I.; Sloyer, K.E.; Medina, J.; Vasquez, C.; Petrie, W.; Reeves, L.E. Potential Distribution of Aedes (Ochlerotatus) scapularis (Diptera: Culicidae): A Vector Mosquito New to the Florida Peninsula. Insects 2021, 12, 213. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12030213

AMA Style

Campbell LP, Burkett-Cadena ND, Miqueli E, Unlu I, Sloyer KE, Medina J, Vasquez C, Petrie W, Reeves LE. Potential Distribution of Aedes (Ochlerotatus) scapularis (Diptera: Culicidae): A Vector Mosquito New to the Florida Peninsula. Insects. 2021; 12(3):213. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12030213

Chicago/Turabian Style

Campbell, Lindsay P.; Burkett-Cadena, Nathan D.; Miqueli, Evaristo; Unlu, Isik; Sloyer, Kristin E.; Medina, Johana; Vasquez, Chalmers; Petrie, William; Reeves, Lawrence E. 2021. "Potential Distribution of Aedes (Ochlerotatus) scapularis (Diptera: Culicidae): A Vector Mosquito New to the Florida Peninsula" Insects 12, no. 3: 213. https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12030213

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