As a main vector of West Nile (WN) virus (family Flaviviridae, genus Flavivirus) in Europe, Culex modestus Ficalbi (Diptera: Culicidae) is commonly found in delta regions, lakes, and ponds. The Dombes area is located along one of the main corridors of bird migrations in France and lies 300 km north of the Camargue region, a frequent focus of WN virus circulation. It is an important breeding, wintering, and stopover site for many bird species that are putative carriers of viruses of different kinds. It is also a continental wetland with ≈1,200 fish farming ponds, scattered over the area, that provide suitable breeding sites for Cx. modestus. This article reports an entomological study based on larval surveys conducted in ponds in 2007 to assess the prevalence and abundance of Cx. modestus in the Dombes. Using the larval survey as an ecological screening test, we investigated the proportion of ponds found positive for Cx. modestus, and the relative abundance of this species was estimated in larval samples. We found that its pond distribution was more extensive in the 2007 survey than in that conducted in the 1970s. Survey methods and meteorological and anthropological factors that could account for the differences or variations between the findings of the two investigations are discussed.
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Vol. 46 • No. 6