Background: In 2009, residents of Lhasa city, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), China reported large numbers of mosquitoes and bites from these insects. It is unclear whether this was a new phenomenon, which species were involved, and whether these mosquitoes had established themselves in the local circumstances.
Methods: The present study was undertaken in six urban sites of Chengguan district Lhasa city, Tibet. Adult mosquitoes were collected by bed net trap, labor hour method and light trap in August 2009 and August 2012. The trapped adult mosquitoes were initially counted and identified according to morphological criteria, and a proportion of mosquitoes were examined more closely using a multiplex PCR assay.
Results: 907 mosquitoes of the Culex pipiens complex were collected in this study. Among them, 595 were females and 312 were males. There was no significant difference in mosquito density monitored by bed net trap and labor hour method in 2009 and 2012. Of 105 mosquitoes identified by multiplex PCR, 36 were pure mosquitoes (34.29%) while 69 were hybrids (65.71%). The same subspecies of Culex pipiens complex were observed by bed net trap, labor hour method and light trap in 2009 and 2012.
Conclusion: The local Culex pipiens complex comprises the subspecies Cx. pipiens pipiens, Cx. pipiens pallens, Cx. pipiens quinquefasciatus and its hybrids. Mosquitoes in the Cx. pipiens complex, known to be, potentially, vectors of periodic filariasis and encephalitis, are now present from one season to the next, and appear to be established in Lhasa City, TAR.