Why does New Zealand need a mosquito census?

New Zealand has 13 native, and three known introduced, species of mosquito. Mosquitoes are incredibly important to the health of New Zealand’s ecosystem, so by helping to map the country’s mosquito species, you can play an important role in protecting our whenua whenualandMāori and public health.

New Zealand’s mosquitoes

You might hate them, but mosquitoes are incredibly important to keep New Zealand’s ecosystem healthy. Not only are they part of the food chain but male mosquitoes are important pollinators.

We have 13 native mosquitoes in New Zealand – 12 of which mainly bite birds.

All 13 have very specific habitats and living conditions which means they are quite vulnerable to environmental changes compared to adaptable introduced species.

We know of three introduced mosquito species which, for over 100 years, have made their home in Aotearoa. Unfortunately, these three introduced species are the main nuisance human biters in New Zealand and have spread and established themselves – whereas native species are possibly in decline.

Lack of data

We currently don’t have enough data to be conclusive about our native species’ decline.

The limited data we have only comes from our international air and sea ports. Mosquitoes are closely monitored at these ports so exotic mosquitoes can be detected quickly and eradicated before they can establish themselves.

But we have no data from the rest of New Zealand.

What we need you to do

This is where you come in. We’re asking Kiwis to help fill in the gaps to create a clearer picture of how our native mosquito species are doing, and where the introduced ones have spread.

We need the help of citizen scientists throughout the country to send us mosquito specimens so scientists at Te Papa can identify them.

Read more about how to take part

What’s the outcome?

We hope this new data, provided by New Zealanders, will make it conclusive whether our native species are in decline.

We’ll also have more data showing how widely spread the three introduced mosquitoes have become, and which pathways they took.

This new information will help us form a clearer picture of the impact of factors such as changes in land use and climate change.

With your help, there’s a chance we might even discover new exotic species that have slipped into New Zealand undetected.