South Florida

Invasive Mosquito Species Found in South Florida

The Aedes scapularis mosquito hasn't been seen in the state since the 1940s

Aedes scapularis
Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control and Habitat Management Division

A non-native mosquito species that hasn't been seen in Florida since the 1940s has been discovered in Miami-Dade and Broward.

The Aedes scapularis mosquito, which is found in much of tropical America, from central South America to northern Mexico and extreme southern Texas, as well as a few Caribbean islands, was recently discovered in South Florida, according to the Miami-Dade County Mosquito Control and Habitat Management Division.

The mosquito had previously only been known in Florida from three specimens collected in the Keys in 1945.

Female Aedes scapularis feed from humans and a range of other animals, readily enter buildings and feed from human hosts indoors, and relatively few mosquito species do this, officials said.

The mosquitoes are also vectors of disease such as yellow fever, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, and dog heartworm, according to Chalmers Vasquez, the research director of the team that discovered the mosquito in South Florida.

"The reporting of the Aedes scapularis can be of great medical and veterinary importance," Vaszuez said in a statement. "This also highlights the importance of South Florida as the point of entry of invasive species that might eventually lead to outbreaks of mosquito-transmitted diseases in our population."

Mosquito control monitors more than 200 traps in the area, with biologists counting, sorting and identifying all the species found.

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