Nima Wangdi

In the last few years, Vector-borne Disease Control Programme in Gelephu identified eight new species of mosquitos.

They have been listed in Mosquito Taxonomic Inventory.

There are four new species under the Anopheles genera of which one was discovered in Thimphu—Thimphuensis.

The other three are called Anopheles bhutanensis, Anopheles druki, and Anopheles himalayensis.

The programme also discovered two new species each under Culex and Andes genera.  They are called Culex bhutanensis and Culex longitubus under Culex genera and Aedes (Hul.) bhutanensis and Uranotaenia bhutanensis under Ades genera.

Anopheles mosquitos are known for transmitting malaria while Culex mosquitos are said to be transmitting a number of diseases, including West Nile virus and several encephalitis diseases. Aedes is a known vector of several viruses, including yellow fever virus, dengue virus chikungunya virus, and Zika virus

Chief Entomologist of the programme, Rinzin Namgay, said that the species were found while carrying out surveillance for malaria elimination.

Bhutan’s deadline to eliminate malaria is 2025.

Rinzin Namgay said the genetic samples were sent to Cheng Mai University in Thailand since Bhutan does not have the capacity to analyse genetics. “We are yet to study the behaviours of these mosquitos.”

When asked about the sighting of mosquitos in Laya, he said it is called Asian Tiger Mosquitos and they are not known for spreading diseases. “Given their bigger size than other mosquitos, people are said to experience irritation after this mosquito bites them. They are very common in the country.”

Bhutan so far has 132 species of mosquitos.