Field-based assessments of the seasonality of Culexpipiens sensu lato in England: an important enzootic vector of Usutu and West Nile viruses

Nicola Seechurn*, M. Trent Herdman, Arturo Hernandez-Colina, Alexander G.C. Vaux, Colin Johnston, Morgan Berrell, Javier Lopez, Lindsay Eckley, Merit Gonzalez-Olvera, Lisa Gillespie, Paul Pearce Kelly, Matthew Baylis, Jolyon M. Medlock

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Usutu virus (USUV), which is closely related to West Nile virus (WNV), sharing a similar ecology and transmission cycle, was first reported in the UK in the southeast of England in 2020. Both USUV and WNV are emerging zoonotic viruses hosted by wild birds. The 2020 finding of USUV in England raised awareness of this virus and highlighted the importance of understanding the seasonality of Culexpipiens sensu lato (Cx. pipiens s.l.), the main enzootic vector of these viruses. Zoos are prime locations for trapping mosquitoes because of their infrastructure, security, and range of vertebrate hosts and aquatic habitats. Methods: Three independent zoo-based case studies at four locations that cover the seasonality of Cx.pipiens s.l. in England were undertaken: (i) London Zoo (Zoological Society London [ZSL]) and surrounding areas, London; (ii) Chester Zoo (Cheshire); (ii) Twycross Zoo (Leicestershire); and (iv) Flamingo Land (zoo; North Yorkshire). Various adult mosquito traps were used to catch adult Cx.pipiens s.l. across seasons. Results: High yields of Cx.pipiens s.l./Culex torrentium were observed in Biogents-Mosquitaire and Center for Disease Control and Prevention Gravid traps in all studies where these traps were used. Mosquito counts varied between sites and between years. Observations of adult Cx.pipiens s.l./Cx. torrentium abundance and modelling studies demonstrated peak adult abundance between late July and early August, with active adult female Cx.pipiens s.l./Cx. torrentium populations between May and September. Conclusions: The information collated in this study illustrates the value of multiple mosquito monitoring approaches in zoos to describe the seasonality of this UK vector across multiple sites in England and provides a framework that can be used for ongoing and future surveillance programmes and disease risk management strategies. Graphical Abstract: (Figure presented.)

Original languageEnglish
Article number61
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024

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  • Culex spp
  • Culexpipienss.l
  • Culextorrentium
  • Disease ecology
  • Zoo


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