THE tiger mosquito, a species of asiatic origin and with a painful bite, appears to have found a new home in Spain.
After being discovered in Sant Cugat del Valles in Catalonia two years ago, experts following the evolution of the species (scientific name Aedes albopictus) have come to the conclusion that its proliferation is inevitable and that, this Summer, it will also be inhabiting other areas including the Balearics. In contrast with the common mosquito which prefers to attack at night, this variety attacks during the day, it is fiercer (it even bites through clothes), but at least it only produces skin bites and does not transmit a dangerous virus. Doctor Roger Eritja, entomologist with the Service for the Control of Mosquitos in Baxi Llobregat (Barcelona) and a leader in the study of this species after it was first found it Tarragona in 2004, said that it is only a question of time before this species is all over Spain, as has occurred in countries such as France and Italy. What is most worrying is that is has been found in Orihuela (Alicante), which is 600 kilometres away from the site of its original discovery.
The tiger mosquito has already gone on the rampage in Spain causing some very painful mosquito bites.
l Aedes albopictus (Family Culicidae), the Asian Tiger Mosquito or Forest Day Mosquito, is characterized by its black and white striped legs and small, black and white body. It was native to Southeast Asia, and occupied a habitat that spread from Madagascar eastward to New Guinea, and north to the latitude of Korea.
The typical member of the Aedes albopictus has a length of about 5 mm. As with other members of the mosquito family, the female is equipped with an elongated proboscis that she uses to collect blood to feed her eggs. By contrast the male member of the species primarily feeds on nectar. The female reproduces by laying her eggs in water, which is typically a stagnant pool. The Asian tiger mosquito has a rapid bite that allows it to escape most attempts by people to swat it.