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Calvitti M.,ENEA | Marini F.,ENEA | Marini F.,Laboratory of Parasitology and Entomological Surveillance | Desiderio A.,ENEA | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

The mosquito Aedes albopictusi is a competent vector of harmful human pathogens, including viruses causing dengue and chikungunya. Cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) induced by endosymbiotic Wolbachia can be used to produce functionally sterile males that can be released in the field as a suppression tool against this mosquito. Because the available sexing methods are not efficient enough to avoid unintentional release of a few transinfected females, we assessed the CI pattern in crosses between wPip Wolbachia-transinfected (ARwP) females and wild-type males of Ae. albopictus in this study. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to monitor the titer of the Wolbachia strains that naturally infect Ae. albopictus, that is, wAlbA and w AlbB, in age-controlled males and females. Data were coupled with incompatibility level detected when the above-mentioned males were crossed with ARwP females. Wolbachia infection titer was also monitored in samples of wild caught males. Incompatibility level was positively correlated only with wAlbA density. Crosses between wild-type males having very low wAlbA density (<0.001 wAlbA/actin copy numbers) and ARwP females were partially fertile (CIcorr = 68.06 ± 6.20). Individuals with low wAlbA titer were frequently found among sampled wild males (30%-50% depending on the site and period). ARwP males can be as considered as a very promising tool for suppressing Ae. albopictus. However, crosses between wild males having low wAlbA density and ARwP females may be partially fertile. In the case of local establishment of the transinfected mosquito line, this occurrence may favor the replacement of the wild-type mosquitoes with the AR wP line, thus reducing the long-term efficacy of incompatible insect technique. Various alternative strategies have been discussed to prevent this risk and to exploit Wolbachia as a tool to control Ae. albopictus. © 2015 Calvitti et al.

Porretta D.,University of Tuscia | Mastrantonio V.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Bellini R.,Agriculture And Environment Center coli | Somboon P.,Chiang Mai University | Urbanelli S.,University of Rome La Sapienza
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: The tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is one of the 100 most invasive species in the world and a vector of human diseases. In the last 30 years, it has spread from its native range in East Asia to Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Although this modern invasion has been the focus of many studies, the history of the species' native populations remains poorly understood. Here, we aimed to assess the role of Pleistocene climatic changes in shaping the current distribution of the species in its native range. Methodology/Principal Findings: We investigated the phylogeography, historical demography, and species distribution of Ae. albopictus native populations at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Individuals from 16 localities from East Asia were analyzed for sequence variation at two mitochondrial genes. No phylogeographic structure was observed across the study area. Demographic analyses showed a signature of population expansion that started roughly 70,000 years BP. The occurrence of a continuous and climatically suitable area comprising Southeast China, Indochinese Peninsula, and Sundaland during LGM was indicated by species distribution modelling. Conclusions/Significance: Our results suggest an evolutionary scenario in which, during the last glacial phase, Ae. albopictus did not experience a fragmentation phase but rather persisted in interconnected populations and experienced demographic growth. The wide ecological flexibility of the species probably played a crucial role in its response to glacial-induced environmental changes. Currently, there is little information on the impact of Pleistocene climatic changes on animal species in East Asia. Most of the studies focused on forest-associated species and suggested cycles of glacial fragmentation and post-glacial expansion. The case of Ae. albopictus, which exhibits a pattern not previously observed in the study area, adds an important piece to our understanding of the Pleistocene history of East Asian biota. © 2012 Porretta et al.

Carrieri M.,Agriculture And Environment Center coli | Fariselli P.,University of Bologna | MacCagnani B.,Agriculture And Environment Center coli | Angelini P.,Emilia Romagna Region | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Entomology | Year: 2014

The impact of weather variables on Culex pipiens L. (Diptera: Culicidae) population dynamics in the Po Valley, Northern Italy, a densely populated region containing the largest industrial and agricultural areas in Italy, was investigated. Monitoring of mosquitoes was carried out by using CO2-baited traps without light, collecting data weekly from 1700 to 0900 hours during the period May-September, from 1997 to 2011. Daily minimum, average, and maximum relative humidity; daily minimum, maximum, and average temperature; rainfall; and hydroclimatic balance (rainfall-potential evapotranspiration) were obtained from three weather stations within the surveillance zone. The average population dynamic trend over the 15-yr period showed a bell-shaped curve with a major peak in June and a secondary peak at the end of August in the rural areas, whereas bimodality was not evidenced in the urban areas. The correlation analyses showed that the mosquito seasonal population and the population in the period of maximum West Nile virus circulation (August-September) was mostly affected by the relative humidity registered from March to July, particularly in May, and, to a lower extent, also by hydroclimatic balance registered in April-July, and by the rainfall occurred in June-July. In addition, the rate of increase of the population during the spring months influenced the development of the mosquito population of the following months. © 2014 Entomological Society of America.

Vallorani R.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Angelini P.,11 Health | Bellini R.,Agriculture And Environment Center coli | Carrieri M.,Agriculture And Environment Center coli | And 4 more authors.
Environmental Entomology | Year: 2015

Aedes albopictus (Skuse) is an invasive mosquito species that has spread to many countries in temperate regions bordering the Mediterranean basin, where it is becoming a major public health concern. A good knowledge of the thermal features of the most productive breeding sites for Ae. albopictus is crucial for a better estimation of the mosquitoes' life cycle and developmental rates. In this article, we address the problem of predicting air temperature in three microhabitats common in urban and suburban areas and the air and water temperature inside an ordinary catch basin, which is considered the most productive breeding site for Ae. albopictus in Italy. Temperature differences were statistically proven between the three microhabitats and between the catch basin external and internal temperature. The impacts on the developmental rates for each life stage of Ae. albopictus were tested through a parametric function of the temperature, and the aquatic stages resulted as being the most affected using the specific temperature inside a typical catch basin instead of a generic air temperature. The impact of snow cover on the catch basin internal temperature, and consequently on the mortality of diapausing eggs, was also evaluated. These data can be useful to improve epidemiological models for a better prediction of Ae. albopictus seasonal and population dynamics in central-northern Italian urban areas. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America.

Bellini R.,Agriculture And Environment Center coli | Medici A.,Agriculture And Environment Center coli | Puggioli A.,Agriculture And Environment Center coli | Balestrino F.,Agriculture And Environment Center coli | Carrieri M.,Agriculture And Environment Center coli
Journal of Medical Entomology | Year: 2013

The pilot field studies here presented are part of a long-term research program aimed to develop a cost-effective sterile insect technique (SIT) methodology to suppress Aedes albopictus (Skuse) populations. Aedes albopictus is a mosquito species mainly developing in man-made containers and with an island-like urban and suburban distribution. These two features make the application of the sterile insect technique a possible control strategy. Five trials have been performed in three small towns from 2005 to 2009 (Emilia-Romagna region, northern Italy). Reared male pupae, sexed by a sieving technique allowing the recovery of ≈26-29% of males, were exposed to gamma rays and immediately released in the field. Adult population density was estimated based on a weekly monitoring of egg density in the ovitraps, whereas induced sterility was estimated by measuring the hatching percentage of weekly collected eggs in SIT and control areas. Results showed that sterile males released at the rate of 896-1,590 males/ha/wk induced a significant sterility level in the local population. In addition, when the sterility level achieved values in the range of 70-80%, a similar reduction also was found for the egg density in the ovitraps. We could estimate that the minimum egg sterility value of 81% should be maintained to obtain suppression of the local population. Immigration of mated females was not a main issue in the small villages where trials have been run. © 2013 Entomological Society of America.

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