Tag Archives | Mosquitos

Due To Climate Change, Alaska’s State Bird Is Now The Mosquito

OK, it’s a joke, the state bird of Alaska is not really the monster mosquito that is so prevalent there, but with Alaska’s climate becoming rapidly warmer, it seems like it. National Geographic reports:

When the wind drops and the endless summer sun bakes the ponds that dot the frozen tundra, some of the Arctic’s most ferocious predators emerge and form menacing blizzards that darken the horizon – and everyone’s mood.

the famous Alaskan mosquitoes..

“It is the talk of the town when the Arctic mosquitoes are out,” says Lauren Culler, a postdoctoral researcher who studies insects in Greenland for Dartmouth College’s Institute of Arctic Studies. “There aren’t a lot of animals for them to eat in the Arctic, so when they finally find one, they are ferocious. They are relentless. They do not stop. They just keep going after you.”

Climate change, it turns out, may make that even worse.

Large, blood-sucking mosquitoes already are the bane of people, caribou, reindeer, and other mammals eking out a living in the frozen north.

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Mosquitoes That Are Genetically-Engineered to Self Destruct (To Prevent Disease) Are in the Air

MosquitoBijal P. Trivedi writes in Scientific American:

A new breed of genetically modified mosquitoes carries a gene that cripples its own offspring. They could crush native mosquito populations and block the spread of disease. And they are already in the air — though that’s been a secret.

Outside Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico — 10 miles from Guatemala. To reach the cages, we follow the main highway out of town, driving past soy, cocoa, banana and lustrous dark-green mango plantations thriving in the rich volcanic soil. Past the tiny village of Rio Florido the road degenerates into an undulating dirt tract. We bump along on waves of baked mud until we reach a security checkpoint, guard at the ready. A sign posted on the barbed wire–enclosed compound pictures a mosquito flanked by a man and woman: Estos mosquitos genéticamente modificados requieren un manejo especial, it reads. We play by the rules.

Inside, cashew trees frame a cluster of gauzy mesh cages perched on a platform.

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Genetically Modified Mosquitoes Released

Photo: Alvesgaspar (CC)

Photo: Alvesgaspar (CC)

I have a bad feeling about this — how long before the scientists say “Sorry, we didn’t think that was possible” when the mosquitoes mutate into something deadly to humans…? From the happily hyperbolic Daily Mail:

Malaysia has released 6,000 genetically modified mosquitoes into a forest in the first experiment of its kind in Asia aimed at curbing dengue fever.

The field test is meant to pave the way for the official use of genetically engineered Aedes aegypti male mosquitoes to mate with females and produce offspring with shorter lives, thus curtailing the population.

Only female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes spread dengue fever, which killed 134 people in Malaysia last year.

However, the plan has sparked criticism by some Malaysian environmentalists, who fear it might have unforeseen consequences, such as the inadvertent creation of uncontrollable mutated mosquitoes.

Critics also say such plans could leave a vacuum in the ecosystem that is then filled by another insect species, potentially introducing new diseases.

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