DOI: 10.1093/jme/tjae008 ISSN: 0022-2585

Current and future potential distribution of Culex (Melanoconion) (Diptera: Culicidae) of public health interest in the Neotropics

Magdalena Laurito, Andrés Arias-Alzate
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Insect Science
  • General Veterinary
  • Parasitology


Anthropogenic activities are altering ecosystem stability and climate worldwide, which is disturbing and shifting arbovirus vector distributions. Although the overall geographic range of some epidemiologically important species is recognized, the spatiotemporal variation for other species in the context of climate change remains poorly understood. Here we predict the current potential distribution of 9 species of Culex (Melanoconion) based on an ecological niche modeling (ENM) approach and assess spatiotemporal variation in future climate change in the Neotropics. The most important environmental predictors were the mean temperature of the warmest season (27 °C), precipitation during the driest month (50 mm), and precipitation during the warmest season (>200 mm). The best current model for each species was transferred to the future general circulation model IPSL-CM6A-LR, using 2 shared socioeconomic pathway scenarios (ssp1-2.6, ssp5-8.5). Under both scenarios of climatic change, an expansion of suitable areas can be observed followed by a strong reduction for the medium–long future under the worst scenario. The multivariate environmental similarity surface analysis indicated future novel climates outside the current range. However, none of the species would occur in those areas. Even if many challenges remain in improving methods for forecasting species responses to global climate change and arbovirus transmission, ENM has strong potential to be applied to the geographic characterization of these systems. Our study can be used for the monitoring of Culex (Melanoconion) species populations and their associated arboviruses, contributing to develop region-specific public health surveillance programs.

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