Blackflies working group

As it is mentioned in the bylaws, the specific objectives of EMCA are focused on mosquitoes and related subjects. It has been generally agreed that biting Dipterae like blackflies (BF) are considered as ‘related subjects’.

More than 1500 BF species have been identified worldwide, and a significant number of them have colonised a wide spectrum of different environments in Europe. BF directly affect the agriculture and tourism industries. Like mosquitoes, the females of some BF species need a blood meal to produce eggs. They feed on sheep, cattle, horses, and poultry, but also on wildlife and humans. BF bites are painful and itchy, and can lead to swelling, secondary infection and sometimes even death.

In recent years, some BF population explosions have been locally observed. The development of control programmes has been requested because of their direct impact on animal health and/or on human comfort. The BF nuisance is so close to the mosquito nuisance that people often don't discern the difference.

A group of several EMCA members directly concerned by BF in their working area wanted a place and means to exchange information and experiences related to the Simulidae, and thus the EMCA BF working group was established. The expertise of the EMCA BF working group allows participants to work on a range of subjects such as systematics, ecology, distribution, population monitoring, veterinary problems, public health, vectorial risk, economy, and control strategies.

The EMCA BF working group is open to all EMCA members, and includes some of the foremost BF identification experts and the team leaders of long-running European control programmes.

Contact: Aleksandra Ignjatovic Cupina (

Torino, 16-19 September 2014

Continuing the tradition of organizing international meetings of scientists, young researchers and practitioners involved in the study of blackflies, the VI International Simuliidae Symposium was held this year in Turin (Piedmont), Italy on September 16-19, 2014.

The event gathered 42 registered participants from 17 countries (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Morocco, Algeria, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, USA, Mexico, Iran and Thailand). During the Symposium 22 oral and 13 poster presentations were given and followed by extensive discussion, demonstrating the overall scientific interests in the different actual blackfly research topics, such as: taxonomy, systematic, geographical distribution, bionomy, ecology and role in aquatic ecosystems, behavior, importance as pests and vectors, monitoring and control. 

The four day lasting program was excellently arranged and guided by the hosts: Dr Simone Ciadamidaro (ENEA-UTTS,   Laboratory for Ecology, Research Centre Saluggia, Saluggia) and Dr Bruno Maiolini (Edmund Mach Foundation, Research and Innovation Centre, San Michele all` Adige). Together with their colleagues, organizers and technical staff, they fulfilled all of the possible expectations of the participants by creating pleasant, friendly and productive atmosphere during the entire event.

The working part of the Symposium was held at the picturesque “Aula Magna” lecture hall at the University of Torino, Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, supplied by all necessary facilities.  

The following institutions, in collaboration with The British Simuliid Group, were actively involved in the organization of the event: 

- Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA-UTTS),   Laboratory for Ecology, Saluggia,

- University of Turin-Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology,

- Regional Museum of Natural Sciences, Turin   and

- CISBA- Italian Center for Studies in Ambiental Biology.

Finally, significant contribution to the success of the event was given by Valent BioSciences Corporation, the sponsor of the VI International Simuliidae Symposium.

On behalf of all the participants, I wish to express the deep gratitude to Simone, Bruno and their colleagues and to all involved institutions for the effort and support to the organization and for the success of this event. I also congratulate the participants for another successful International Simuliidae Symposium.

Aleksandra Ignjatovic Cupina