Research

Malaria mosquito is an endangered species in Germany

It was not before 1953 that the WHO declared Germany officially malaria-free. In the past decade, the mosquito Anopheles atroparvus was essential for malaria transmission in Germany. As it prefers salty breeding waters, it was particularly widespread in Northern Germany and constituted a large proportion of the mosquito population there.

The malaria vector female Anopheles atroparvus taking a blood meal.
The malaria vector female Anopheles atroparvus taking a blood meal.

In our last assessment in 2011-2013, we found 
An. atroparvus much less frequently – both in distribution and in numbers. It was restricted to the coastal areas of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein. A similar development has been observed in the Netherlands. The cause for its disappearance remains speculative. Possibly, modern, closed buildings may have reduced the mosquitoes’ hibernation retreats. Dutch researchers have also proposed that An. atroparvus might be particularly sensitive to the pollution of stagnant waters, which could damage their breeding sites and thus impair their reproduction.

 


Lühken R et al., Med Vet Entomol. 2016, 30:144-54

Renke Lühken, Hanna Jöst, Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, Egbert Tannich and external co-operation partners (see publication)