Development of a novel sticky trap for container-breeding mosquitoes and evaluation of its sampling properties to monitor urban populations of Aedes albopictus.
Collection methods currently used for large-scale sampling of adult Stegomyia mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) present several operational limitations, which constitute major drawbacks to the epidemiological surveillance of arboviruses, the evaluation of the impact of control strategies, and the surveillance of the spreading of allochthonous species into non-endemic regions. Here, we describe a new sticky trap designed to capture adult container-breeding mosquitoes and to monitor their population dynamics. We tested the sampling properties of the sticky trap in Rome, Italy, where Aedes (Stegomyia) albopictus is common. The results of our observations, and the comparison between sticky trap catches and catches made with the standard oviposition trap, are presented. The sticky trap collected significantly larger numbers of Ae. albopictus females than any other Culicidae species representing >90% of the total catches. A maximum of 83 An. albopictus females was collected in a single week. A high correlation (Pearson correlation coefficient r= 0.96) was found between the number of females and the number of eggs collected by the traps. The functional relationship between the number of eggs and the number of adult females was assessed by major axis regression fitted to log(1 +x)-transformed trap counts as y= 0.065 + 1.695x. Trap samples significantly departed from a random distribution; Taylor's power law was fitted to the trap samples to quantify the degree of aggregation in the catches, returning the equations s(2)= 2.401 m(1.325) for the sticky trap and s(2)= 13.068 m(1.441) for the ovitrap, with s(2) and m denoting the weekly catch variance and mean, respectively, indicating that eggs were significantly more aggregated than mosquitoes (P < 0.0001). Taylor's power law parameters were used to estimate the minimum number of sample units necessary to obtain sample estimates with a fixed degree of precision and sensitivity. For the range of densities encountered in our study area during the Ae. albopictus breeding season, the sticky trap was more precise and sensitive than the ovitrap. At low population densities (c. < 0.1 mosquito/trap), however, the ovitrap was more sensitive at detecting the presence of this species. Overall, our results indicate that our new model of sticky trap can be used to sample Ae. albopictus females in urban environments, and, possibly, other container-breeding Stegomyia mosquitoes (e.g. Aedes aegypti). The technical properties of the new trap are discussed with respect to its possible application in monitoring the population dynamics of container-breeding mosquitoes, in studying their bionomics, and in vector surveillance and, possibly, control.