Assessment of expertise in morphological identification of mosquito species (Diptera, Culicidae) using photomicrographs

Nil Rahola, Filiz Günay, Murat Öztürk, Bulent Alten, Hanan A Aqeehal, Walid K Saadawi, Taher Shaibi, Mihaela Kavran, Dušan Petrić, Jelena Mitrović, Igor Pajovic, Enkelejda Velo, Përparim Kadriaj, Elton Rogozi, Viola Jani, Arsen Manucharyan, Lusine Paronyan, Samer Sawalha, Youmna M'ghirbi, Ali BouattourAdel Rhim, Ahmed Ouni, Abdallah M Samy, Shaimaa Abozeid, M'hammed Sarih, Najlaa Assaid, Soukaina Arich, Nikolina Sokolovska, Elizabeta Janceska, Kamal Eddine Benallal, Nabil Haddad, Renée Zakhia, Nesade Muja-Bajraktari, Kurtesh Sherifi, Majeda Arbaji, Jelena Marić, Violeta Santrac, Nato Dolidze, Philippe Boussès, Isra Deblauwe, Francis Schaffner, Vincent Robert

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Accurate identification of insect species is an indispensable and challenging requirement for every entomologist, particularly if the species is involved in disease outbreaks. The European MediLabSecure project designed an identification (ID) exercise available to any willing participant with the aim of assessing and improving knowledge in mosquito taxonomy. The exercise was based on high-definition photomicrographs of mosquitoes (26 adult females and 12 larvae) collected from the western Palaearctic. Sixty-five responses from Europe, North Africa and the Middle East were usable. The study demonstrated that the responders were better at identifying females (82% correct responses) than larvae (63%). When the responders reported that they were sure of the accuracy of their ID, the success rate of ID increased (92% for females and 88% for larvae). The top three tools used for ID were MosKeyTool (72% of responders), the ID key following Becker et al. [2010. Mosquitoes and their control, 2nd edn. Berlin: Springer] (38%), and the CD-ROM of Schaffner et al. [2001. Les moustiques d'Europe: logiciel d'identification et d'enseignement - The mosquitoes of Europe: an identification and training programme. Montpellier: IRD; EID] (32%), while other tools were used by less than 10% of responders. Responders reporting the identification of mosquitoes using the MosKeyTool were significantly better (80% correct responses) than non-MosKeyTool users (69%). Most responders (63%) used more than one ID tool. The feedback from responders in this study was positive, with the exercise being perceived as halfway between educational training and a fun quiz. It raised the importance of further expanding training in mosquito ID for better preparedness of mosquito surveillance and control programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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