Tiger mosquitoes pose a problem that affects many people. The project takes a task traditionally delegated to technical services and professional scientists and it passes on to the public. Citizen science is based on the idea that common knowledge and participation by a large group can help to solve scientific problems, including basic research questions and monitoring needs.
Why the Asian tiger mosquito? The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) ) is an invasive species native to Southeast Asia. This mosquito lives and breeds in urban areas, is a potential vector of tropical viral diseases (such as Dengue), and is known for its aggressive bites. It is believed that tiger mosquitoes first came to Spain around 2004, which is when they were first spotted in Sant Cugat del Vallès. Currently they are found in many municipalities of Catalonia, especially in the outskirts of Barcelona and near the coast. More recently, it has reached Valencia, the Balearic Islands, and Murcia. It is, therefore, a species with a great invasive potential.
Any citizen can participate through the mobile application Tigatrapp, which runs on a variety of mobile phones and tablets. With Tigatrapp, citizen scientists can send and characterize findings of tiger mosquitoes and breeding sites in public spaces. The citizen can participate individually, as a family, or in teams (e.g. schools, associations, etc.) with one single device. The citizen scientist data is made public on the project webmap. By participating, people will also learn about the biology and ecology of tiger mosquitoes, including the risks they present and ways to keep them out of home.