Mukundarajan H, Hol FJH, Castillo EA, Newby C, Prakash M (2017) Using mobile phones as acoustic sensors for high-throughput mosquito surveillance. elife, 6, e27854
The lack of high-resolution field data on the abundance, species and distribution of mosquitoes is a serious impediment to effective control of mosquito-borne disease, yet the availability of high-throughput, low-cost surveillance techniques remains a bottleneck in generating such data. Here, we establish that commercially available mobile phones (including low-cost basic models) are a powerful tool to probe mosquito activity, by sensitively acquiring acoustic data on their species-specific wingbeat sounds, together with the time and location of the human-mosquito encounter. We survey a range of medically important mosquito species to quantitatively demonstrate how acoustic recordings supported by spatio-temporal metadata enable rapid, non-invasive species identification. As proof-of-concept, we carry out field demonstrations where minimally-trained users map local mosquito fauna using their personal phones. Thus, by leveraging the global mobile phone infrastructure with the potential for engaging citizen scientists, our approach enables continuous large-scale acquisition of mosquito surveillance data in resource-constrained areas.