Uranotaenia unguiculata Edwards, 1913 is a species of mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) native to central Europe. Recently a novel lineage of the West Nile virus (WNV-lineage 4c) was identified in pools of adult female Ur. unguiculata. To increase the body of knowledge about this species, various trapping methods were evaluated to determine the most efficient method for capturing adult female Ur. unguiculata.
Sound traps collected equivalent numbers of female Ur. unguiculata as low-hanging light-baited downdraft traps. Hosts were identified as Pelophylax lessonae and P. ridibunda (Anura: Ranidae) species group frogs from the blood found in engorged females. In addition to confirming infection by WNV-lin. 4c, a potentially integrated flavivirus sequence was detected in male mosquitoes. A novel Alphamesonivirus 1 (Nidovirales: Mesoniviridae) was found to be widespread in the Ur. unguiculata population and is herein described.
Efficient collection methods for Ur. unguiculata for arbovirus surveillance reflect mosquito questing behavior. Uranotaenia unguiculata targets frog species which call from the water, and it is likely that the novel WNV-lin. 4c is maintained in a frog-mosquito transmission cycle. The improved trapping methods listed here will assist future studies of the vector status of Ur. unguiculata for WNV and other arboviruses.