Giant mosquitoes flourish in floodwaters that hurricanes leave behind

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here The Anatomy of Fear Please enter your name here Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 By Michael Reiskind , Assistant Professor of Entomology, North Carolina State University, and first published on After Hurricane Florence, reports started rolling in of “giant mosquito” sightings – and bitings – throughout North Carolina. What’s going on with these mega mosquitoes that can be as big as a quarter?As a mosquito biologist, I often get asked to identify a mosquito based upon someone’s verbal report of the little buggers. I usually do OK with an educated guess based on descriptions like “It had striped legs, and was brown” or “It looked kind of purple.”What I have always struggled with is when someone says “It was little” or “It was pretty big.” For the most part, size is not a good identifying feature of the common mosquitoes Americans encounter close to home.This is because you can grow relatively large mosquitoes or small ones just depending on the conditions where they grow up – what entomologists call their larval environment. If the larval environment has few other competing mosquitoes, or is rich in nutrients, or has a cool temperature, the result is larger adult mosquitoes.You’ll see these mosquitoes coming your way. Joanna Poe/Flickr, CC BY-SAThere are a couple of species of mosquitoes that are truly gigantic, though. If someone says they saw a big mosquito, and I follow up with “big for a mosquito, or too big to even be a mosquito?” and they say “too big to be a mosquito, but it was biting me,” then I know we truly have one of a couple species of “giant” mosquitoes.Under normal circumstances, these giant, biting mosquitoes – known locally here in North Carolina as “gallinippers” or scientifically as Psorophora ciliata or Psorophora howardi – are quite rare. They are two of about 175 species of mosquitoes we have in the United States. Their moment in the spotlight comes after major flooding events, like we had with Hurricane Florence. These mosquitoes can be as much as three times larger than their more typical cousins.The gallinippers belong to a genus of mosquitoes that specialize in responding to floods. Females produce lots of eggs, which they spread out around areas that might flood, such as wet meadows, floodplain forests or even agricultural land. Those eggs are resistant to desiccation – that is, they aren’t damaged by dry conditions – so they can wait around for a flood the following year, forming an “egg bank.” The eggs are fertilized as the female lays them, from sperm she’s stored during mating. In order to get the blood meals necessary to make many eggs, these mosquitoes are aggressive feeders on mammals, and maybe other vertebrates occasionally.But evolving to a giant size doesn’t seem necessary to carry out these tasks. Indeed, many other species in this genus are not giants; they’re more typically mosquito-sized. So what separates the gallinipper?One possibility is the fact that gallinippers, as larvae, prey on other mosquito larvae. Perhaps their size is an adaptation to consuming other floodwater mosquitoes, allowing them to more easily capture and consume smaller species? The more typical-sized mosquitoes that use floodwaters are not predators. Size may also allow them to produce many more eggs, which can also be an advantage when the floodwaters come.Psorophora ciliata feasting. Matthew Bertone, Author provided (No reuse)Gallinippers have a painful bite that is usually well noticed by human victims, so the large numbers that emerged after Florence have received lots of attention.While being bitten by a giant mosquito may not seem like a great thing, there are reasons to take heart. First, these mosquitoes likely get just one good blood meal in their lives, limiting their ability to transmit a pathogen. As far as entomologists know, they don’t transmit any pathogens to people. And since, as larvae, these giants eat other mosquitoes, maybe one big bite is worth 10 small ones? Finally, it’s a great post-hurricane brag to announce “I got bit by a giant freakin’ mosquito!”Other good news is that the adults likely don’t live more than a couple of weeks, so the great boom of mosquitoes from Florence is winding down. Of course, now it looks like Hurricane Michael may bring about another round of gallinippers. Winter does end the most immediate threat, but all those eggs are still out there, awaiting next year’s floodwaters.and Previous articleApopka Tractor Supply hosting pet treat tastingNext articleBiography of an Apopka icon: The life and times of Billie Dean coming in 2020 Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Please enter your comment! Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.last_img read more

#BREAKING Fire crews battle Limerick industrial estate fire

first_imgNewsBreaking news#BREAKING Fire crews battle Limerick industrial estate fireBy Staff Reporter – May 23, 2016 1118 WhatsApp Advertisement Twitter Email Facebook Limerick Artist ‘Willzee’ releases new Music Video – “A Dream of Peace” Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clashcenter_img WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR TAGSbreaking newslimerickLimerick City Fire and Rescue Print Previous articleTriumph and Trauma, a poetic dedication in dance to 1916 turning pointNext articleShocking viral video emerges of Limerick street brawl Staff Reporter The scene of the blaze at Galvone Ind Est in Limerick. Source @LimerickFireThe scene of the blaze at Galvone Ind Est in Limerick. Source @limerickfireFIREFIGHTERS from the Limerick City Fire and Rescue Service have been battling and containing a commercial fire this Monday evening at a premises in the Galvone Industrial Estate.Shortly before 6pm, four units were joined by a crew from Shannon at the Industrial Estate on the south side of the city.Four Limerick City appliances including the aerial platform hoist ‘Bronto’ and a Water Tanker were also deployed to the scene.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The alarm was raised to the incident at 5:50pm and crews remained on scene until 7:45pm.It is understood that an office within one of in the warehouses caught fire and caused damage to the building.Crews, once the blaze was brought under control, remained on scene to dampen down and prevent any reemergence of the fire.Forensic fire investigators are carrying out initial checks as to the cause of the blaze and Gardai from Roxboro Road are also carrying out their inquiries. Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live Linkedinlast_img read more