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Evidence for regular ongoing introductions of mosquito disease vectors into the Galapagos Islands

Bataille A., Cunningham A.A., Cedeño V., Cruz M., Eastwood G., Fonseca D.M., Causton C.E., Azuero R., Loayza J., Cruz Martinez J.D., Goodman S.J.. 2009. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 276 (1674) : p. 3769-3775.

Wildlife on isolated oceanic islands is highly susceptible to the introduction of pathogens. The recent establishment in the Galápagos Islands of the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus, a vector for diseases such as avian malaria and West Nile fever, is considered a serious risk factor for the archipelago's endemic fauna. Here we present evidence from the monitoring of aeroplanes and genetic analysis that C. quinquefasciatus is regularly introduced via aircraft into the Galápagos Archipelago. Genetic population structure and admixture analysis demonstrates that these mosquitoes breed with, and integrate successfully into, already-established populations of C. quinquefasciatus in the Galápagos, and that there is ongoing movement of mosquitoes between islands. Tourist cruise boats and inter-island boat services are the most likely mechanism for transporting Culex mosquitoes between islands. Such anthropogenic mosquito movements increase the risk of the introduction of mosquito-borne diseases novel to Galápagos and their subsequent widespread dissemination across the archipelago. Failure to implement and maintain measures to prevent the human-assisted transport of mosquitoes to and among the islands could have catastrophic consequences for the endemic wildlife of Galápagos. (Résumé d'auteur)

Thématique : Organismes nuisibles des animaux; Maladies des animaux; Méthodes de relevé

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