Background: Taiwan is geographically located in a region that spans both tropical and subtropical climates (22-25°N and 120-122°E). The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control have found that the ecological habitat of Aedes aegypti appears only south of 23.5°N. Low temperatures may contribute to this particular habitat distribution of Ae. aegypti under the influence of the East Asian winter monsoon. However, the threshold condition related to critically low temperatures remains unclear because of the lack of large-scale spatial studies. This topic warrants further study, particularly through national entomological surveillance and satellite-derived land surface temperature (LST) data. Methods: We hypothesized that the distribution of Ae. aegypti is highly correlated with the threshold nighttime LST and that a critical low LST limits the survival of Ae. aegypti. A mosquito dataset collected from the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control was utilized in conjunction with image data obtained from the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) during 2009-2011. Spatial interpolation and phi coefficient methods were used to analyze the correlation between the distributions of immature forms of Ae. aegypti and threshold LST, which was predicted from MODIS calculations for 348 townships in Taiwan. Results: According to the evaluation of the correlation between estimated nighttime temperatures and the occurrence of Ae. aegypti, winter had the highest peak phi coefficient, and the corresponding estimated threshold temperatures ranged from 13.7 to 14 °C in the ordinary kriging model, which was the optimal interpolation model in terms of the root mean square error. The mean threshold temperature was determined to be 13.8 °C, which is a critical temperature to limit the occurrence of Ae. aegypti. Conclusions: An LST of 13.8 °C was found to be the critical temperature for Ae. aegypti larvae, which results in the near disappearance of Ae. aegypti during winter in the subtropical regions of Taiwan under the influence of the prevailing East Asian winter monsoon.
- Aedes aegypti
- Inverse distance weighting
- Local polynomial interpolation
- Moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer
- Ordinary kriging
- Phi coefficient
- Radial basis function