Nine years of mosquito monitoring in Germany, 2011–2019, with an updated inventory of German culicid species
Before the background of increasingly frequent outbreaks and cases of mosquito-borne diseases in various European countries, Germany recently realised the necessity of updating decade-old data on the occurrence and spatiotemporal distribution of culicid species. Starting in 2011, a mosquito monitoring programme was therefore launched with adult and immature mosquito stages being collected at numerous sites all over Germany both actively by trapping, netting, aspirating and dipping, and passively by the citizen science project ‘Mueckenatlas’. Until the end of 2019, about 516,000 mosquito specimens were analysed, with 52 (probably 53) species belonging to seven genera found, including several species not reported for decades due to being extremely rare (Aedes refiki, Anopheles algeriensis, Culex martinii) or local (Culiseta alaskaensis, Cs. glaphyroptera, Cs. ochroptera). In addition to 43 (probably 44 including Cs. subochrea) out of 46 species previously described for Germany, nine species were collected that had never been documented before. These consisted of five species recently established (Ae. albopictus, Ae. japonicus, Ae. koreicus, An. petragnani, Cs. longiareolata), three species probably introduced on one single occasion only and not established (Ae. aegypti, Ae. berlandi, Ae. pulcritarsis), and a newly described cryptic species of the Anopheles maculipennis complex (An. daciae) that had probably always been present but not been differentiated from its siblings. Two species formerly listed for Germany could not be documented (Ae. cyprius, Ae. nigrinus), while presence is likely for another species (Cs. subochrea), which could not be demonstrated in the monitoring programme as it can neither morphologically nor genetically be reliably distinguished from a closely related species (Cs. annulata) in the female sex. While Cs. annulata males were collected in the present programme, this was not the case with Cs. subochrea. In summary, although some species regarded endemic could not be found during the last 9 years, the number of culicid species that must be considered firmly established in Germany has increased to 51 (assuming Cs. subochrea and Ae. nigrinus are still present) due to several newly emerged ones but also to one species (Ae. cyprius) that must be considered extinct after almost a century without documentation. Most likely, introduction and establishment of the new species are a consequence of globalisation and climate warming, as three of them are native to Asia (Ae. albopictus, Ae. japonicus, Ae. koreicus) and three (Ae. albopictus, An. petragnani, Cs. longiareolata) are relatively thermophilic. Another thermophilic species, Uranotaenia unguiculata, which had been described for southwestern Germany in 1994 and had since been found only at the very site of its first detection, was recently documented at additional localities in the northeastern part of the country. As several mosquito species found in Germany are serious pests or potential vectors of disease agents and should be kept under permanent observation or even be controlled immediately on emergence, the German mosquito monitoring programme has recently been institutionalised and perpetuated.