West Nile virus vector Culex modestus established in southern England

Nick Golding*, Miles A. Nunn, Jolyon Medlock, Bethan V. Purse, Alexander Vaux, Stefanie M. Schäfer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The risk posed to the United Kingdom by West Nile virus (WNV) has previously been considered low, due to the absence or scarcity of the main Culex sp. bridge vectors. The mosquito Culex modestus is widespread in southern Europe, where it acts as the principle bridge vector of WNV. This species was not previously thought to be present in the United Kingdom. Findings. Mosquito larval surveys carried out in 2010 identified substantial populations of Cx. modestus at two sites in marshland in southeast England. Host-seeking-adult traps placed at a third site indicate that the relative seasonal abundance of Cx. modestus peaks in early August. DNA barcoding of these specimens from the United Kingdom and material from southern France confirmed the morphological identification. Conclusions: Cx. modestus appears to be established in the North Kent Marshes, possibly as the result of a recent introduction. The addition of this species to the United Kingdom's mosquito fauna may increase the risk posed to the United Kingdom by WNV.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Steve Gordon and Andy Daw for their cooperation and help with fieldwork, Stephen Larcombe for providing Cx. modestus from the Camargue, and the Port of London Authority for providing shipping data. NG, SS, MN, and BVP acknowledge funding from the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH Environmental Change Integrating Fund programme). JM and AV are funded by HPA Government Grant-in-Aid, and an HPA fund for nationwide mosquito surveillance.


  • Anopheles
  • Arboviruses
  • Culex
  • Culicidae
  • DNA Barcoding
  • Disease Vectors
  • Introduced Species
  • Taxonomic
  • West Nile virus


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