Calzolari M, P Bonilauri, R Bellini, S Becker, M Dottori
Med Vet. Ent. August 2016.
The Culex pipiens complex includes species with reported differences in vector competence for arthropod-borne viruses, many of which are of significant importance to human health such as the West Nile virus and the Sindbis virus. This group of mosquitoes is difficult to distinguish morphologically; particularly as adult females. In Europe, the two species of the complex, Culex pipiens Linnaeus 1758 and Culex torrentium Martini 1925, are often found sympatrically. With the aim to characterize the presence and spread of both species in the Emilia-Romagna region, Northern Italy, mosquitoes of the complex – collected during the West Nile virus surveillance plans – were tested by multiplex real-time PCR for the detection of the two species Cx. pipiens and Cx. torrentium. A total of 24,165 mosquitoes, collected between 2012 and 2014 from 105 sites, and sorted in 204 pools, were tested. All tested pools were found to be composed of Cx. pipiens, whereas Cx. torrentium was not detected. These results indicate a likely absence of Cx. torrentium mosquitoes within the surveyed territory, whereas Cx. pipiens is widely distributed in the area mentioned. This is in line with previous reports, which describe a pre-alpine distribution of Cx. torrentium in Italy.