Aedes albopictus (Stegomyia albopicta)
, the Asian tiger mosquito, is a is a important and dangerous vector for the transmission of several viral pathogens, including the West Nile virus, Yellow fever virus, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue fever, and Chikungunya fever, as well as transmitting the helminths that cause Brugian and Bancroftian filariasis. This small (2-10 mm long) mosquito gets its name from its characteristic black and white striped legs and body. They also have a distinctive white stripe down their back. The body size of individuals depends on larval density and nutritional availability. It is native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia; however, in the past couple of decades this species has invaded many countries throughout the world through the transport of goods and increasing international travel. The international trade of tires is responsible for effectively spreading these mosquitos, which travel in the water that gathers inside the tires when they are stored outside. Aedes albopictus
is one of the 100 world's worst invasive species according to the Global Invasive Species Database. In Asia, the Asian tiger mosquito can be mistaken for other members of the subgenus Stegomyia
, particularly the yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti
(the most prevalent species in the tropics and subtropics), because both species display a similar black and white pattern. Aedes albopictus
has become a significant pest in many communities because it closely associates with humans (rather than living in wetlands), and typically flies and feeds in the daytime in addition to at dusk and dawn. Aedes albopictus
has proven to be very difficult to suppress or to control due to their remarkable ability to adapt to various environments, their close contact with humans, and their reproductive biology.
The genus Aedes
is undergoing reorganization according to recent morphological analyses by Reinert et al. (2004, 2009). This is controversial as it changes the name of Aedes albopictus
to Stegomyia albopictus
. Because this species is of great medical and public health importance, this proposed name change has been ignored by many scientists; at least one scientific journal, the Journal of Medical Entomology, has officially encouraged authors dealing with mosquitoes in the subfamily Aedinae to continue to use the traditional names unless they have particular reasons for doing so.
(Editors of The Journal of Medical Entomology
; Polaszek 2006; Weaver 2005; Wikipedia 2011
; Wikipedia 2011b