Everybody that once in a time ever dreamed of visiting the tropics is confronted with many questions when preparing such a trip, among them the infamous nuisance of mosquitoes (Insecta: Diptera: Culicidae) and potential major health hazards transmitted by these tinny creatures constantly lurk on such thoughts. Bearing this in mind and the importance of Arthropod roles in ecosystems, REGUA is delighted to welcome the first ever research projects related to mosquitoes.
Ever since the restoration of the wetlands, the questioning by local people, guests, visitors and alike, on the possibility that the restored wetlands might become a safe haven for mosquitoes, horseflies, blackflies and other related nuisances linked to this permanent freshwater type breeding grounds is omnipresent and needs a proper approach.
We are now pleased to report the first ever visiting team of FIOCRUZ researchers! – FIOCRUZ is an abbreviation for Fundação Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, one of the top three most prestigious Brazilian public research facilities, known worldwide as the South American ‘Institut Pasteur’.
The name honours the famous doctor and bacteriologist – Oswaldo Cruz – that in 1900 joined the staff as Technical Director of the newly created Federal Serotherapy Institute destined to the production of sera and vaccines against the bubonic plague.
His fame skyrocketed as he masterfully managed a deadly series of yellow fever epidemics, which had earned Rio de Janeiro the sinister reputation of ‘Foreigners’ Grave’. Between 1897 and 1906, 4000 European immigrants had died there from this disease alone in Rio de Janeiro, in the times when the ‘carioca’ city was still the capital of the Republic of Brazil.
The FIOCRUZ research team is composed of Jerônimo Alencar (Supervisor), Cecília Mello and Fernanda Rodrigues (Ms.C students) and the project title is “Bioecology and Biodiversity of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) in natural environments of REGUA”. It consists mainly of a survey of the Mosquito species in REGUA’s different types of reforested areas with emphasis in taxa with medical importance. They will sample larvae on different breeding grounds and adults. The different types of forested habitats present in the reserve – like the Wetlands, Green and Red Trails – will be sampled over a two year period.
This project was initially envisioned for Boca do Mato area (Cachoeiras de Macacu), but after hearing about REGUA and due to lack of a permanent vehicle disposal, the team decided to change the research location to REGUA.
The second project came from the National Museum (UFRJ) via a team composed of Alessandro Giuppone (supervisor) and Júlia dos Santos Silva (Ms.C student) and aims to address the issue of mosquito light trap preferences. The mosquito fauna will be sampled and the results statistically compared, using different types of light bulbs in a default CDC light trap: incandescent; fluorescent; LEDs, UV, violet, blue, green and red. The areas sampled will be well preserved forested localities in Rio de Janeiro State: REGUA, Parque Natural Municipal de Nova Iguaçu (PNMNI) and the Tres Picos State Park (PETP).