Citizen Science Mosquito Surveillance by Ad Hoc Observation Using the iNaturalist Platform

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 May 23;19(10):6337. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19106337.


Citizen science mosquito surveillance has been growing in recent years due to both increasing concern about mosquito-borne disease and the increasing popularity of citizen science projects globally. Health authorities are recognising the potential importance of citizen science to expanding or enhancing traditional surveillance programs. Different programs have shown success in engaging communities to monitor species of medical importance through low-cost methods. The Mozzie Monitors project was established on iNaturalist-an open citizen science platform that allows participants to upload photos (i.e., observers) and assist identification (i.e., identifiers). This article describes the likelihood of citizen scientists submitting photos of mosquitoes, assesses user submission behaviour, and evaluates public health utility from these citizen science-derived data. From October 2018 to July 2021, the Mozzie Monitors project on iNaturalist received 2118 observations of 57 different species of mosquitoes across Australia. The number of observers in the system increased over time with more than 500 observers and 180 identifiers being active in the project since its establishment. Data showed species bias with large-bodied and colourful mosquitoes being over-represented. Analyses also indicate regional differentiation of mosquito fauna per state, seasonality of activity, and ecological information about mosquitoes. The iNaturalist citizen science platform also allows connectedness, facilitated communication and collaboration between overall users and expert entomologists, of value to medical entomology and mosquito management.

Keywords: citizen science; mobile application; mosquito; public health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Citizen Science*
  • Culicidae*
  • Entomology
  • Humans

Grants and funding

L.B.S. has an ATN-LATAM scholarship awarded through the University of South Australia.