MEMO+ - Monitoring exotic mosquitoes in Belgium
Latest version published by Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp on 24 August 2021 Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp

MEMO+ - Monitoring exotic mosquitoes in Belgium is a sampling event dataset published by the Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. It is part of the early detection of exotic mosquito species (EMS) along high-risk introduction routes surveillance projects in Belgium, in which data are collected at defined locations using a standardized protocol. This dataset contains Aedes albopictus mosquito trap counts. The data was collected in a 6 months long extension for the MEMO project (July - December 2020) for specific Aedes albopictus monitoring.

Here, it is published as a standardized Darwin Core Archive and includes for each sampling event an eventID, date, location and sampling protocol (in the event core), and for each occurrence an occurrenceID, the number of recorded individuals, status (present/absent), identification and scientific name (in the occurrence extension). Issues with the dataset can be reported at

We have released this dataset to the public domain under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license. We would appreciate it if you follow the INBO norms for data use ( when using the data. If you have any questions regarding this dataset, don't hesitate to contact us via the contact information provided in the metadata.

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How to cite

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

Deblauwe I, De Wolf K, Brosens D, Müller R, Van Bortel W (2021): MEMO+ - Monitoring exotic mosquitoes in Belgium. v1.1. Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. Dataset/Samplingevent.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: f5361e97-c8f1-4697-b209-8817e14ae780.  Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Belgian Biodiversity Platform.


Samplingevent; Mosquito; surveillance; invasive Aedes; point of entry; introduction; ground transport; Aedes albopictus; Belgium; disease vector


Who created the resource:

Isra Deblauwe
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp
Katrien De Wolf
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp
Dimitri Brosens
Ruth Müller
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp
Wim Van Bortel
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Isra Deblauwe
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp

Who filled in the metadata:

Isra Deblauwe
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp
Dimitri Brosens
Wim Van Bortel
Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp

Who else was associated with the resource:

Geographic Coverage


Bounding Coordinates South West [49.49, 2.53], North East [51.51, 6.41]
Taxonomic Coverage


Kingdom  Animalia
Phylum  Arthropoda
Class  Insecta
Order  Diptera
Superfamily  Culicoidea
Species  Aedes albopictus
Temporal Coverage
Start Date / End Date 2020-07-30 / 2020-12-04
Project Data

The early detection of exotic mosquito species (EMS) along high-risk introduction routes before populations become established is of paramount importance to prevent local transmission of mosquito-borne diseases. Following previous EMS surveillance projects in Belgium, a three-year national active EMS monitoring project (MEMO) started in July 2017 to detect possible foci of introduction and establishment of EMS at an early stage in Belgium. This project was prolonged for six months until December 2020 (MEMO+ project) with four aims: 1) the active monitoring of Aedes albopictus at four parking lots along highways, 2) the preparation of information material for citizens and the media, 3) the preparation of training materials for public health staff and local partners, and 4) the organisation of a training workshop for local staff in public health, Sciensano and Belgian defence. In 2020 active monitoring was implemented at six different Points of Entry (PoE’s). The focus was on parking lots along the highway as this import pathway for exotic Aedes species is becoming more and more important. Four fixed parking lots (Aische-en-Refail (E1), Raeren (E4), Marke (E6), Saint-Ghislain (E8)) were monitored. Following the detections of Ae. albopictus in the Netherlands, two parking lots (Minderhout (P1), Gierle (P2)) were added to the monitoring. Oviposition traps were used to collect eggs and potential breeding sites were inspected for larvae. In August 2020 Ae. albopictus was introduced in Belgium again through the passive ground traffic. Nine eggs were detected at the parking lot along the E411, Aische-en-Refail (E1), north of the parking lot Wanlin (E5), where Ae. albopictus eggs were found in 2018 and 2019. This observation confirms that the importation of Ae. albopictus by road traffic continues in 2020. The increasing population of Ae. albopictus in France and Germany most probably led to the introductions at the parking lots in Belgium in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Additionally, the detections at parking lots at the northern Belgian border in the Netherlands suggest that Ae. albopictus can be introduced everywhere in Belgium now. These findings need to be taken into account when deciding on a future monitoring and control plan. To make future monitoring of Ae. albopictus more sustainable, passive monitoring is needed to supplement the active monitoring. However, the active monitoring at well-known PoE’s (e.g. used tyre and lucky bamboo import companies) is still important and needs to continue too.

Title MEMOplus - Monitoring of Exotic Mosquitoes
Funding This three-year project is financed by the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels governments and the FPS Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment in the context of the National Environment and Health Action Plan (NEHAP).
Study Area Description Belgium
Design Description Exotic mosquitoes, such as the tiger mosquito, are spreading as a result of increased globalisation and climate change. They were able to establish themselves in Southern Europe and now have also been spotted in Belgium. The tiger mosquito is a small but fierce creature with a painful bite that can also transmit viral diseases. The species originally came from Southeast Asia but has now spread to Europe and America due to international transport of goods, global warming and its ability to adapt. Early detection enables better control. Even if these species manage to establish themselves here, it is important to closely monitor populations.

The personnel involved in the project:

Point Of Contact
Isra Deblauwe
Sampling Methods

Oviposition traps were used to collect eggs and potential larval habitats were inspected for larvae. The collected polystyrene pieces were checked at ITM for the presence of Aedes mosquito eggs. If present, a subsample of the eggs (ranging from one to five) from each side of the polystyrene piece was put in absolute ethanol (100%) for molecular identification in case none of the other eggs hatched. The polystyrene piece was subsequently submerged in water and put in the climate controlled cupboard of the ITM insectary to rear the eggs. Hatched larvae were grown until the 4th instar, afterwards killed and morphologically identified. Some larvae were also reared to adulthood, killed in the freezer (-20°C) and morphologically identified. From the collected larvae, only larvae of the genus Aedes were morphologically identified to species level. Other larvae were stored in bulk, in 80% ethanol.

Study Extent The introduction of Aedes albopictus via ground transport along highways in Belgium was followed up by monitoring four parking lots: Aische-en-Refail (E1), Raeren (E4), Marke (E6), Saint-Ghislain (E8). The same risk scenarios were used as during the MEMO project ( On 12 and 20 August 2020 eggs were collected by the CMV (Centrum voor Monitoring van Vectoren in the Netherlands) on the parking lot Hazeldonk (Breda) along the highway E19 and on 24 August on the parking lot Bladel (Bladel) along the highway E34 [6] (personal communication, Adolfo Ibáñez-Justicia (CMV)). Both locations are situated just across the border with Belgium. Following the findings of Aedes albopictus eggs at two Dutch parking lots along the Belgian border, extra monitoring activities were added in Belgium in September 2020. To check possible introductions at the first large Belgian parking lots following the Dutch parking lots along these highways, parking lot Minderhout (P1) along the E19 and parking lot Gierle (P2) along the E34 were monitored during one month. Sampling was performed by ITM. The sampling design was according to the one from the MEMO project in 2019 (insert link). For the parking lots E1, E4, E6 and E8 the sampling design was as follows: ▪ Scenario 1 (no established EMS): 10 oviposition traps were set-up at the parking lot and polystyrene pieces were collected every four weeks between August and November 2020. ▪ Scenario 2 (new EMS introduction): one extra larval sampling (LS) event was performed at the parking lot as soon as possible after the EMS detection. The same sampling design was used for the two additionally monitored parking lots P1 and P2, except that the ovipostion trapping lasted only one month (with one collection). In addition, one larval sampling event took place at the parking lots during the set-up of the oviposition traps which was on 16 September 2020 at P1 and on 18 September 2020 at P2.
Quality Control Data are collected using a predefined sampling protocol.

Method step description:

  1. Researchers from ITM defined the appropriate sampling protocol for the target species.
  2. Fieldwork was planned and coordinated by ITM.
  3. Data was collected in the field by specialized personnel.
  4. The collected data was entered into VecMap.
  5. The data was exported and manually corrected by experts.
  6. A custom R & Grel script was created to map the original data to Darwin Core as an event core with an occurrence extension. (
  7. The Darwin Core files are connected to the BBPF IPT and documented with metadata.
  8. The dataset is published and registered with GBIF.
Bibliographic Citations
  1. Deblauwe I., De Wolf K., Smitz N., Vanslembrouck A., Schneider A., De Witte J., Verlé I., Dekoninck W., De Meyer M., Backeljau T., Gombeer S., Meganck K., Van Bourgonie Y.-R., Vanderheyden A., Müller R., Van Bortel W. 2020. Monitoring of exotic mosquitoes in Belgium (MEMO): Final Report Phase 7 Part 1: MEMO results. 100 pp.
  2. Deblauwe I., De Wolf K., Schneider A., De Witte J., Van Bortel W., Müller R. 2020. Monitoring of exotic mosquitoes in Belgium in second half of 2020 (MEMO+): Final Report: MEMO+ results. 58 pp.
  3. Ibáñez-Justicia, A., Smitz, N., den Hartog, W., van de Vossenberg, B., De Wolf, K., Deblauwe, I., Van Bortel, W., Jacobs, F., Vaux, A., Medlock, J. M., & Stroo, A. 2020. Detection of Exotic Mosquito Species (Diptera: Culicidae) at International Airports in Europe. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(10), 3450.
  4. De Wolf K, Vanderheyden A, Deblauwe I, Smitz N, Gombeer S, Vanslembrouck A, Meganck K, Dekoninck W, DE Meyer M, Backeljau T, Müller R, VAN Bortel W. First record of the West Nile virus bridge vector Culex modestus Ficalbi (Diptera: Culicidae) in Belgium, validated by DNA barcoding. Zootaxa. 2021 Jan 27;4920(1):zootaxa.4920.1.7. doi: 10.11646/zootaxa.4920.1.7. PMID: 33756679 10.11646/zootaxa.4920.1.7.
  5. Smitz, N., De Wolf, K., Deblauwe, I. et al. Population genetic structure of the Asian bush mosquito, Aedes japonicus (Diptera, Culicidae), in Belgium suggests multiple introductions. 2021. Parasites Vectors 14, 179.
  6. Smitz N., De Wolf, K., Gheysen A., Deblauwe I., Vanslembrouck A., Meganck K., De Witte J., Schneider A., VerléI., Dekoninck W., Gombeer S., Vanderheyden A., De Meyer M., Backeljau T., Müller R., Van Bortel W. (2021) DNA identification of species of the Anopheles maculipennis complex and first record of An. daciae in Belgium. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 35, 442–450 1-9.
  7. Deblauwe I.,Ibáñez-Justicia A., De Wolf K., Smitz N., Schneider A., Stroo A., Jacobs F., Vanslembrouck A., Gombeer S., Dekoninck W., Müller R., Van Bortel W. (2021) First detections of Culiseta longiareolata (Culicidae, Diptera) in Belgium and the Netherlands. Journal of Medical Entomology tjab127,
Additional Metadata
Alternative Identifiers f5361e97-c8f1-4697-b209-8817e14ae780