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Title: The ecology of the mosquito Culex modestus, a potential vector of West Nile Virus in the UK
Author: Abbott, Anthony James
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 4240
Awarding Body: University of Greenwich
Current Institution: University of Greenwich
Date of Award: 2018
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The aim of this study is to establish the habitat preferences of the mosquito Culex modestus in the UK so that its likely distribution can rapidly be determined in areas most vulnerable to West Nile Virus (WNV) becoming established in the UK. Culex modestus was first found in the North Kent marshes in 2010. It is of particular public health interest due to its importance as a bridge vector of WNV from the amplifying host, birds, into humans and equines. Currently little is known about Cx modestus habitat preferences and population dynamics. Larval sampling was conducted in the North Kent marshes between June and November 2015 and 2016. Initially, four habitat areas in the Hoo peninsula were sampled, collecting larvae from wetland drainage ditches along with information on both abiotic and biotic factors at each Sample Point. Culex modestus larvae were present from early July until late October at all four Locations, with populations peaking between late August and September. In 2016, an additional six Locations were sampled along the southeast coast of the UK. The key findings were that Cx modestus is most likely to be found in narrow, shallow ditches, containing sedge vegetation and aquatic vegetation. They were more common in warmer waters with a neutral to alkaline pH and a high level of total dissolved solids (TDS). In 2016, Cx modestus was found to occupy two new Locations outside of Kent, in Essex along the Blackwater Estuary. A Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) was developed, based on the abiotic and biotic factors that were shown to be statistically significantly associated with its presence in the North Kent sites. The HSI showed encouraging results, particularly in its ability to predict which of the additional Locations were most suitable for Cx modestus.
Supervisor: Gibson, Gabriella ; Hopkins, Richard Sponsor: University of Greenwich
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QL Zoology ; SF Animal culture