Mr David López Peña

PhD student

David López Peña is a PhD student at the Institute Cavanilles of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology in the University of Valencia (Valencia-Spain), studying the Simuliidae fauna of this part of the world.

“Diptera Simuliidae are widely consider as an insect vector species necessary to be studied around the world. Even though their minuscule size, scarcely (1.5-5 mm) they are worldwide spread and they can be very abundant in some places, above all near watercourses such as rivers, their tributaries, streams and rivulets. Of the 52 species identified in Spain until now, 6 of them are considered annoying and troublesome species owing to their haematophagous behaviour on both, animals and humans beings. Besides this, they are also able to act as potential vector species of pathogenic agents such as the vesicular stomatitis virus, protozoa as Leucocytozoon spp. and filarial nematodes.

My current work is focus on improve the knowledge of blackflies in Valencian Autonomous Region, providing a check list of simuliids in this area, as well as, knowing their distribution, bioecology and also paying special attention to those species responsible for bothering animals and humans with their bites. Part of the work has consisted on taking samples of immature states, that is larvae and pupae, from rivers with different conditions. Likewise, I have been attempting to design and elaborate risk maps focusing the efforts on those towns, villages and cities located close to their breeding points, which are suffering their attacks more often than not, so as to help them to control their populations, and therefore, their annoying and dangerous bites.

Moreover, and after finishing my PhD, I am continuing working on doing the mentioned projects, but also, I am focusing my researching efforts on making a surveillance and monitoring of Simuliid populations in the rivers of the quoted geographical area.”

To find out more about David's project, click the picture for her Gnatwork member video profile.