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Lynx aids counting of Tiger Mosquito eggs

By Dezember 1, 2017Case Studies

The Regional Agency of Environmental prevention in Emilia-Romagna, University of Ferrara (Biology department) and the Museum of Natural History in Parma have invested in 5 Lynx stereo zoom microscopes, to observe and count eggs from the Tiger Mosquito to forecast their arrival, understand and prevent their invasion into local communities.

The Regional Agency of Environmental Prevention in Emilia-Romagna (ARPA), Italy has invested in 5 Lynx Stereo Zoom Microscopes from Vision Engineering Ltd (Italia) for research into the Aedes Albopictus, Tiger Mosquito.

Invasion of Tiger Mosquito’s into Northern Italy

ARPA has invested in Lynx to check and count laths (narrow strip of straight-grained wood) and the Tiger Mosquito’s eggs. This is essential for understanding the mosquito and researching to meet the main objective which is to take control of the invasion by these ruthless insects in Northern Italy.

The Tiger Mosquito has historically only been prevalent in Asia but with factors such as global warming, they have invaded and thrived in other continents including both the Americas and Europe. It is thought that the invasion into the Americas and more specifically in Texas began in 1985 when a consignment of second hand tyres from Asia contained the insect/eggs and in two years the mosquito had spread from Texas through 17 states!!

Named the Tiger Mosquito because of it stripes, it can be up to 1cm in length and can lay anything between 100 and 300 eggs at one time. The female mosquito can frequent the lath to lay her eggs every couple of days resulting in an explosion of these insects.

Figure 1.0 Shows the eggs through the magnified view of the Lynx, shown with the measuring graticle

With a preference for warm, damp conditions, the Tiger Mosquito inhabits reclaimed flood plains in Northern Italy where ARPA has placed several snares to encourage the Tiger Mosquito to lay their eggs. The lath snares are placed in small, dark waterways like reservoirs which naturally attract the insects to lay their eggs, ARPA can then collect the lath snares (weekly) and conduct their research.

Forecasting the influx of mosquitos

Research by agencies such as ARPA, are key to understanding and eventually controlling the spread of these relentless insects. Initially, ARPA can forecast the influx of mosquitoes with their observations and counts of the eggs.

However, ARPA activities cover all aspects of environmental control and additional custom-made activities on behalf of local clients, these activities include study &

characteristics of ecosystems. ARPA has partnered up with The University of Ferrara (Biology department) and the Museum of Natural History in Parma, where they are striving to achieve an effective solution for the control of Tiger Mosquitoes.

Figure 2.0. Shows the trap the agency use to capture the Tiger Mosquitoes eggs.

Mosquito’s are renowned for carrying disease and one of the primary disease they carry is Chikungunya Fever, a haemorrhagic fevers (VHFs). First described in Tanzania in 1953, the fever is most likely to occur in young children from 5 to 9 years old, causing symptoms such as fever, crippling polyarticular arthritis, severe rash and sometimes conjunctivitis with bleeding of the skin and eyes.

These diseases are one of the main reasons why the Tiger Mosquito’s need to be controlled where epidemics have been associated with poor control of mosquitoes.

Counting eggs in comfort with „eyepiece-less“ microscopes

Together with The University of Ferrara and the Museum of Natural History in Parma, ARPA have invested in the Lynx because the stereo microscope provides a very unique and patented Dynascope optical head.

The Dynascope, ‘eyepieceless’ viewing head means technicians can observe and count the eggs with optimum comfort rather than being crouched over a traditional stereo microscope with a binocular head.

Where technicians are using apparatus and instrumentation for hours, ergonomics is important not just because companies and organisations are investing in the health and safety of their staff, but because long periods of time spent in uncomfortable and positions means both accuracy and productivity is compromised.

The Lynx stereo zoom microscope provides technicians with up to x120 magnification with a fatigue free view. As well as the unique Dynascope viewing head, the Lynx is a modular system with versatile configurations and accessories. The bench stand seen in figure 3 provides a 14-point LED ring light for cold white light (essential when observing life science subjects) in addition to substage illumination.

Figure 3.0a Shows a microscope with traditional binocular eyepieces and the relative posture.

Figure 3.0b Shows the posture of the operator when using the patented Dynascope viewing head.

Other configurations include different stand options, a variety of optical heads and accessories designed to enhance your viewing comfort, such a wedges to angle the head for maximum viewing performance. Digital image capture and cataloguing can be used with the stand for archiving; the oblique and direct viewer can provide views of the subject at 34° with a 360° rotation; and a variety of other accessories can enhance the versatility, allowing the system to be used for a variety of tasks including:

  • Checking the morphology of cells
  • Cell counting
  • Measuring
  • Observing
  • Dissecting

With ARPA’s continuous investment in constantly updating instrumentation and development of new methods and technology, the agency for environmental protection can continue to support the local ecosystems with research and development in protecting the local environment from pests such as the Aedes Albopictus, Tiger Mosquito.