Microclimatic and regional factors influencing the distribution and invasive potential of the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, in New York

Deena Lopez, Fordham University

Abstract

The invasive Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is a health concern given its peridomestic behavior and high disease vector potential. Introduced in the United States in 1985, its northward expansion necessitates understanding the factors that influence its distribution to better predict areas at risk for invasion. The aims of this study were to determine the current northern boundary of Ae. albopictus in New York State and identify the variables that best predict its presence and abundance at sites across four counties in the lower Hudson Valley. Additionally, this study investigated the overwinter temperatures of Ae. albopictus ' breeding habitats (tree-holes and artificial containers) to determine if microhabitat conditions were suitable for survival of this species in New York. Presence and abundance data were obtained from the Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, and Westchester County health departments and revealed that Ae. albopictus was present throughout the lower Hudson Valley, with its current northern boundary in northern Rockland County (below 41° latitude). Regression analyses found that mean annual temperature, precipitation of the wettest and driest quarters, and the distance to a highway best predicted the presence of Ae. albopictus. Minimum temperature of the coldest month and maximum temperature of the warmest month, as well as increasing urban land use, were predictors for the abundance and establishment of Ae. albopictus. Urbanization intensity was found to affect establishment, where the presence of some vegetation within an urban landscape enhanced establishment. Temperature data recorded from breeding habitats in Rockland and Westchester counties revealed that tree-hole and container minimum temperatures were, on average, 4°C warmer than ambient temperatures during the winter season. Furthermore, snow-covered habitats were, on average, 12.5°C warmer than ambient temperatures, suggesting the potential for overwintering survival in areas previously thought unsuitable for this mosquito. As climate change is predicted to increase areas suitable for the expansion of Ae. albopictus , future studies should focus on local and habitat-scale variables that may facilitate the further establishment of this mosquito within New York State.^

Subject Area

Biology, Ecology|Biology, Entomology

Recommended Citation

Lopez, Deena, "Microclimatic and regional factors influencing the distribution and invasive potential of the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, in New York" (2015). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI1584732.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI1584732

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