Academics from Edge Hill University are playing a vital role in the UK’s front line defence against mosquito-borne diseases.
Biology Lecturer Dr Clare Strode and Research Technician Thom Dallimore are developing a guide on British mosquitoes, the first resource of its kind to be published in the last 30 years. The new guide will make important updates to the scientific names of British mosquitoes as well as adding species recently discovered using new molecular methods. Crucially, the guide will also track the movement of species which have the potential to bring new tropical diseases to the UK.
Thom Dallimore, Research Technician in Edge Hill University’s Department of Biology said:
“The guide will help us to identify species, such as the Asian Tiger Mosquito, which carries Yellow Fever, Dengue and Chikungunya, and has now been recorded as close as France, meaning the species may enter the UK in the near future. Identifying the species now will play an important role in front line defence against potentially new diseases coming into the UK.”
Despite the high profile nature of mosquitoes, little is known about the distribution and behaviour of UK species. The book, due to be published by The Field Studies Council, will provide a fully illustrated account of the different life stages of British and potential immigrant mosquitoes. The team at Edge Hill University are keen to ensure the guide is utilised as a way of encouraging new records of British species through encouraging new enthusiasts and researchers to take up the subject.
The release of the book is part of a broader mosquito project being run by Edge Hill University’s Biology Department.
“We’re also currently working with Liverpool Port Authorities and Public Health England to monitor the movement of mosquitoes into the UK,” said Thom Dallimore. “Through this project, we hope to gain a better understanding of the potential mosquito habitats that surround Liverpool docks, so that we can predict high areas of risk. Monitoring the movement of mosquito species in and out of the country in this way acts as a first line of defence in disease control.”
The publication on British mosquitoes will be targeted at amateur and professional entomologists, researchers, as well those working in the veterinary and medical practice wishing to identify problem species. This work is being carried out with the support of British museum’s collections including, Liverpool World Museum and the Natural History Museum London.