Our qualified team consists of highly trained Mosquito Identification Technicians familiar with all known mosquito species in Canada, including newly introduced species. Our senior staff have been involved with mosquito surveillance for West Nile virus since the virus first appeared in Canada in 2001. Our Mosquito Identification Technicians also have experience indentifying non native species from Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
Dr. Hunter, along with former student Aynsley Thielman, published A Pictorial Key to the Adult Mosquitoes of Canada which includes newly introduced species to Canada. Dr. Hunter has also given talks on the spread on Ochlerotatus japonicus – a non native species – throughout Ontario, and along with Alessio Gasparotto and her graduate students at Brock University, published a paper in 2015 on the Establishment of Culex (Melanoconion) erraticus (Diptera: Culicidae) in Southern Ontario and updated the Checklist of Mosquito Species of Ontario.
Accurate mosquito identifications are essential for making important decisions on where control efforts should be placed, which is why our senior staff members conduct quality control audits on identified mosquitoes weekly. We also ensure quality control by using molecular diagnostic/barcoding techniques to verify species identifications. The protocols for Barcoding are found in: Cywinska, A., F.F. Hunter and P.D.N. Hebert. 2006. Identifying Canadian mosquito species through DNA barcodes. Medical and Veterinary Entomology (Oxford) 20: 413-424. The experience of our technicians ensures that mosquitoes are identified within two business days of receipt of traps.
To ensure long-term identification capabilities, we maintain a curated reference collection of identified larval and adult mosquitoes. These can be accessed by academic institutions throughout the world for research purposes. In addition, we routinely submit voucher specimens to the Canadian National Insect Collection in Ottawa.