urban Aedes

3 steps to start with Mosquito Alert

With the Mosquito Alert app you can send observations of tiger mosquitoes or yellow fever mosquitoes, including GPS location and the photographs. You can also do this if you see public places with mosquito larvae, especially storm drain, or other public places which could be possible breeding sites of these two species. This information is useful for scientists to study how these mosquitoes are distributed geographically. In addition, governments and environmental and public health managers can make use of the data and learn where there are problems in order to act.

1) Find tiger mosquitos or yellow fever mosquitos

They are small and dark with white stripes. The tiger mosquito has 1 single white stripe on the head and yellow fever has several white stripes in the form of a lyre. We will help you to identify them!

Credits: J. Luis Ordóñez CC BY NC 2.0

2) Discover breeding sites

They hide in containers or small spaces with stagnant water. We seek reports of breeding sites in public places, especially storm drainsRead more details here.

3) Send your observations

Photographing mosquitoes: to catch a mosquito, try to trap it in a pot or cup. Then, if you can, hold it by the legs, zoom in and try to make the stripes of the head and chest visible. You can also add pictures from other angles.

Reporting breeding sites: add a picture of the breeding site itself and one of the general area. Also, if you can, add another photo showing water or larvae inside the breeding site if this can be seen.

Discover other tips!

We are expanding our objectives after a highly successful 2015

Two years after its birth, the project has proven to be an effective tool for studying and controlling the spread of the tiger mosquito in Spain, as well other tools developed and actions taken. Good results have permitted expansion of project goals, and beginning in March 2016, thanks to support from Obra Social “la Caixa”, we have proposed to provide early detection of the arrival of the yellow fever mosquito.

Informe Anual Mosquito Alert 2015

Mosquito Alert Annual Repport 2015

Since 2014, more than 16,000 people have downloaded the Mosquito Alert mobile device application and provided more than 5,700 observations of possible tiger mosquitos and 770 breeding site notifications. 40% of the observations received in 2015 were considered by experts as possible or confirmed tiger mosquitos by means of analysis of photos accompanying the observation reports: this means that citizens carry out well-documented observations and that they know how to identify the species.

Thanks to agreements with key Spanish public health organizations and agencies, Mosquito Alert data were in some cases used for direct management of this disease vector. We have established collaborative partnerships with the Public Health Agency of Barcelona and the City of Valencia. In Barcelona in 2015, 280 notifications of adult tiger mosquitos and breeding sites were received. Of these, 20% were considered useful for the PHAB and led to some type of action within the monitoring and control program for the species. In Valencia, by way of the Sanitation and Health Agency and in collaboration with the Lokímica company, reports sent with Mosquito Alert were included in the 2015 tiger mosquito vigilance and control campaign. 40% of the new sites of tiger mosquito activity within the city limits were detected and dealt with thanks to Mosquito Alert.

You have helped us detect tiger mosquitos in new places

According to the latest citizen data, the tiger mosquito is found in more than 360 Spanish cities, and Catalonia is the Autonomous Community with the most affected cities. Thanks to citizen collaboration, the mosquito’s extended presence along the coastlines has been confirmed (including Catalonia, Valencia, and Murcia). We also know that the mosquito has advanced northeastward, including the island of Majorca, and that it is propagating from the eastern and southern parts of the country towards the interior. Also, arrivals of the tiger mosquito to Andalucia, Aragon, and the province of Lleida were confirmed for the first time thanks to citizen notifications. Early detection of the species is hugely important for planning and expansion of control measures.

Do you want to know more?

Download the Annual Report at the Publications side

AtrapaelTigre is now Mosquito Alert: a citizen platform for studying and controlling the mosquitos that transmit global epidemics

This new program updates the project previously known as AtrapaelTigre, and includes the mosquito Aedes aegypti which is responsible for the spread of Zika virus. The updated project will implement an early warning system based on citizen science for the detection of the mosquito’s possible arrival to Spain. Also, monitoring of the presence and spread of the tiger mosquito will be expanded with the objective that the data be incorporated into Spanish systems of public health management and epidemiological research.

Moment de la roda de premsa.

Picture taken at the press conference.

Antoni Comín, Minister of Health of the Generalitat de Cataluña, Jaume Giró, General Director of Fundación Bancaria “La Caixa”, and Frederic Bartumeus, ICREA Research Professor also representing CREAF, today presented the program Mosquito Alert, fruit of an alliance between the institutions. The new project will promote research, monitoring, and control of mosquitos mainly responsible for transmission of dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika. This agreement renews the citizen system for monitoring of the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and will expand it to include the mosquito which transmits yellow fever (Aedes aegypti) which is also responsible for the current spread of Zika. The first effect of this new agreement is that the previous system, known by the name Atrapa el Tigre, will change into the program Mosquito Alert.

One of the project’s aims is that both the alert system for Aedes aegypti and citizen monitoring of domestic and expanding populations of tiger mosquitos play a larger role in public health management systems and epidemiological research.

“We live in a globalized world, and this phenomenon leads to changes which have direct consequences on people’s health. We are increasingly exposed to biological agents responsible for transmissible diseases. This is the case of appearances of diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, or zika,” says Jaume Giró, General Director of Fundación Bancaria ”la Caixa”. Frederic Bartumeus, director of the project, adds: “We are working to involve different actors and public and private institutions in the tiger mosquito problem in Spain, including citizens, epidemiologists, entomologists, and modelers.”

Just like its predecessor, Mosquito Alert will continue carrying out citizen monitoring for the presence and spread of the tiger mosquito.

“We will only be able to manage current risks if we coordinate institutions, science and citizens. The Mosquito Alert program is an example of this,” says Antoni Comín, Minister of Health of the Generalitat de Catalunya. The project also hopes to make great leaps in expanding its number of users in an exponential fashion. In 2015 the mobile application was downloaded 10,000 times and 4,000 possible tiger mosquito locations were reported.

Imagen de la aplicación Mosquito Alert.

Mosquito Alert app.

It is hoped that with the new platform these numbers will increase significantly, creating data for big data, and capable of leading to models which may predict, for instance, the distribution of the mosquito or the epidemiological risk of transmission of the diseases they carry. Finally, Mosquito Alert aims to support specific control responses and maneuvers, effective in real time, useful for the management of these two mosquito species. In order to do this, data supplied by citizens and mathematical models will be shared with the entities which oversee the situation.


Mosquito Alert will be able to detect if the Zika-transmitting mosquito arrives to Spain

Aedes aegypti is closely related to the tiger mosquito (it belongs to the same genera, but is not the same species) and is the main vector of dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika. To date this mosquito has not been detected in Spain. Mosquito Alert offers a mobile application which allows people to report when they believe they have seen one of these mosquitos.

The novelty of the new project is that citizen science will also help detect if the yellow fever mosquito, the transmitter of Zika, arrives to Spain. A new feature of the application is that it will now help users differentiate between these two species of Aedes before sending information. If hundreds of thousands of people collaborate by notifying about mosquitos in their area, it will be possible to monitor the expansion and proliferation of the tiger mosquito as done to date.

The tiger mosquito has expanded throughout Mediterranean coastal areas and is present in more than 360 Spanish cities

The latest data confirm an extended presence of the tiger mosquito along the eastern Spanish coast (coastal provinces of Catalonia, the Community of Valencia, and the region of Murcia) in addition to its advance northeastwards, to the island of Majorca. Generally speaking, the citizen data suggest that the mosquito is propagating from the eastern coast towards Andalusia and the interior regions. In fact, in 2014 and 2015, with the help of validated citizen data, experts including Dr. Bartumeus, and national monitoring networks, the arrival of the species to Andalusia and Aragon was confirmed.

Also, the arrival of the mosquito to the province of Lleida in Catalonia was confirmed. Since 2014, more than 360 Spanish cities have been associated with citizen sightings validated by experts as possible or probable tiger mosquitos. Catalonia is the Autonomous Community with greatest number of cities with tiger mosquito presence (189), followed by the Community of Valencia (115), the Balearic Islands (21), Andalusia (14), the region of Murcia (13), Aragon (5), the Community of Madrid (2), Castilla-La Mancha (1) and La Rioja (1).

Video of press conference organized for the presentation of Mosquito Alert (credit: Obra Social la Caixa)

Acceso a Youtube para Visualizar 

How to differentiate a tiger mosquito from a yellow fever mosquito with the naked eye?

Pequeños como un céntimo (Autor dibujo: José Luís Ordóñez, CREAF)

Small like a one cent coin (Credit: José Luís Ordóñez, CREAF)

There are three basic details in which you need to pay attention if you want to differentiate a tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) from a yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti). With the naked eye both Aedes are small like a one euro cent coin and they have lines on their legs and abdomen, but there some helpful tips to differentiate them.

The Mosquito Alert app is prepared for identifying mosquitoes from the app. Thus, the expert validation process will be easier.


1- Shape of the thorax lines

Yellow fever mosquito have 4 lines of white scales in a shape of a lyre on the dorsal side of the thorax, two of them are bold and the two others are thin.

Tiger mosquito has one single white scale on the top of the thorax, drawing a straight line covering its head.

2 – The colour

The yellow fever mosquito is dark brown.

The tiger mosquito is black.

3 – The scales of the abdomen

The yellow fever mosquito has one perpendicular white scale in every single segment of the abdomen, ending with a white spot on the lateral sides.

The tiger mosquito has one similar scale but thinner, with triangular spots on the laterals.


Los diferentes dibujos del tórax. Dibujo: José Luís Ordóñez, CREAF

Thorax drawings: Left: tiger mosquito; right: yellow fever mosquito. Credits: José Luís Ordóñez, CREAF

Las líneas en el abdomen. Dibujo: José Luís Ordóñez, CREAF

Abdomen. Left: tiger mosquito; right: yellow fever mosquito. Credits: José Luís Ordóñez, CREAF













Have you seen a mosquito and you think it’s one of those?

Download the Mosquito Alert app and send your photos!

Where are Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus found in the world?

A worldwide study has published the largest and most complete data base on the location and presence of yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) and tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) adults, pupae, larvae, and eggs covering the period 1960 to 2014. This collection of data was published in July 2015 in Nature’s Scientific Data, an open-access portal for high-value data.

The following interactive map shows the presence data for the two species. This is a visualisation tool for historic data of high interest, including information for some periods for which it is difficult to obtain precise data, for example the 1950s and 1970s.

See the map on the original source

Understanding the distributions of the species is crucial for disease prevention

The  yellow fever mosquito (Ae. aegypti) and the tiger mosquito (Ae. albopictus) are vectors of arboviruses of global significance, including yellow fever, chikungunya, and zika. Arboviruses are a group of viruses transmitted by arthropods, which serve as vectors. From the standpoint of public health protection, knowing and understanding the geographical distribution and presence of these vector species is quite important for planning disease prevention and control and different management interventions. The incidence of these diseases has increased significantly in the last 50 years since these two mosquito species have been able to expand into new geographical areas.

Both mosquitos use manmade containers to raise their larvae, which is why they have become abundant in urban areas. “The yellow fever mosquito is often found in houses while the tiger mosquito is more associated with vegetation and is most predominant in suburban and rural areas,” explains Dr. Roger Eritja, entomologist from the Baix Llobregat Mosquito Control Service.

What is the state of these mosquitos in Spain?

There aren’t yet any populations of Aedes aegypti in Spain. On the other hand, the tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) is widely established in Spain, especially along the coasts of Catalonia and Valencia and in Southern Spain. However, increases in global mean temperature favour the eventual appearance of Aedes aegypti in Spain. During period 1650 to 1850 it had once been abundant as a result of introductions associated with commerce and the transport of goods. “The tiger mosquito arrived with the transport of goods, so you have to take into account that the yellow fever mosquito could arrive the same way,” says Frederic Bartumeus, director of the project. Recently, the Canarian Government has announced the finding of some individuals of yellow fever mosquito at the Fuerteventura island, according to the Entomological Surveillance System actions.

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Mosquito Alert coordinators