A cold-resistant Korean super mosquito is still “a mystery”, and it is not known for sure what the potential risks to humans are from the spread of this species, “of which very few studies exist today”. Paolo Gabrieli, a zoologist from the Department of Biosciences of the State University of Milan, researched ‘Aedes koreicus’ and brought together some incontrovertible points of the studies done far on the insect.
“We know that it stings humans, but we do not know if it also stings animals or what their preference is,” he says. What is known about the mosquito is too small to understand its ability to transmit viruses or pathogens. “Not knowing is a problem because animals carry pathogens, and this involves great risks. Just think of the Nile Fever virus, which circulates in migratory birds and passes to humans through mosquito bites,” he says.
At the moment, its privileged environment seems to be the mountains. Researchers have found larvae of this mosquito throughout the Alps, but also in the area of Bergamo and Brescia. “We have no idea what the potential risk of its presence is. It can be – he reiterates – it can be harmless, or it can be risky. For now, we know, for example, that it can transmit heartworms, known to affect dogs. This already poses a problem, veterinary problem “. And, again, “we potentially know that it can transmit the Chikungunya virus or the Japanese encephalitis virus. We intend to investigate these aspects and the ability to transmit viruses”.
The Korean and Japanese mosquitoes are spreading in Europe, but the Japanese version is smaller in number and at lower altitudes. The difference with the tiger mosquito is the longer life cycle, “We find Koreans version from March to late autumn, the (Japanese) ‘tigers’ live in summer, especially in the plains,” said the researcher. Unlike the tiger, which it resembles, the Korean mosquito” is a little larger, is brown and has a pattern on the chest. Under the microscope, they are easily distinguished,” he said.