New Zealand mozzies and biosecurity risks

Te Papa researcher: Julia Kasper

Biosecurity is emerging as one of the most important issues facing the national and international community. It is associated with risks of infectious diseases and economic risks, posed by invasive species that threaten ecosystem stability. Those risks are facilitated by the movement of exotic species around the world through increasing international tourism and trade, and are influenced by changes in climate and land use.

New Zealand’s ecosystems are very sensitive and introduced mosquito species have spread uncontrolled, invading regions with the most favourable climates rapidly. In addition to competition for habitat from introduced species, their ecological habitats and hosts, such as natural forest, coastlines and seabird species, are endangered and declining in abundance.

Therefore, I work closely together with the Ministry of Health and New Zealand BioSecure to gain more knowledge about our rare and unique species as this knowledge can help us to protect New Zealand’s ecosystems and prevent harmful species from spreading.

Collecting in Wairarapa. Photo courtesy of Mike Jackson

Opifex fuscus. Photo by Stephen Dogget

Main collaborators: Victoria University of Wellington, NZ BioSecure.

Funding: Ministry of Health.

Representative publications:

Ammar SE, McIntyre M, Swan T, Kasper J, Derraik JGB, Baker MG, Hales S. 2019. Intercepted mosquitoes at New Zealand’s ports of entry, 2001 to 2018: current status and future concerns. Tropical Medicine & Infectious Disease 4: 101.

Kasper J. 2019. New Zealand Mosquito Census.