Scientists are concerned about a newly-discovered mosquito in Florida

Scientists are concerned about a newly-discovered mosquito in Florida

Welcome to Florida, Culex lactator, a species of mosquito native to Central and South America. Although this Culex may have the same appearance as any other mosquito you’ve ever gotten plagued by, scientists say they don’t yet know whether it poses a threat to animals or human health.

The introduction of non-native mosquitoes is largely to blame for our greatest mosquito-related problems, according to Lawrence Reeves, lead author of a recent study conducted at the UF/IFAS Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory in Vero Beach and published in the Journal of Medical Entomology. “When unfamiliar with a mosquito species, it may be difficult to forecast what will occur.

“Nevertheless, experts are unsure if the newest species is a bird feeder and how it will affect virus transmissions. Birds can harbor diseases like the West Nile virus and St. Louis encephalitis that Culex could spread by feeding off both birds and humans. Although mosquitoes are among the most studied insects due to their function in the transmission of diseases, Reeves stated that a wide variety of species found in tropical woods remain understudied.”

The newest mosquito to establish in Florida

Reeves and his colleagues identified a new species of mosquito using DNA analysis and other techniques. Researchers from the University of Florida discovered the novel invasive mosquito in Miami-Dade County in 2018 while looking for other non-native species. Since then, it has flourished in the counties of Miami-Dade, Collier, and Lee, and Reeves speculates that it may have spread to other regions of the state. Reeves asserts that the mosquito is the most recent creature from the Southern Hemisphere to establish itself in Florida as its climate becomes more accommodating to such organisms.

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Reeves noted that mosquitoes can unintentionally travel to new locations by hitching a ride on an aeroplane or being carried there by air currents. Reeves noted that the rate of new introductions is increasing, despite the fact that up to 17 non-native mosquito species have established themselves in the state. Eleven of the seventeen non-native species have only been discovered in the last 20 years, and six of them have only been discovered in the last five.