Arctic Mosquitoes Growing Faster Under Climate Change

Posted: Sep 16 2015, 8:57pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Arctic Mosquitoes Growing Faster Under Climate Change
A Dartmouth study predicts mosquitoes' probability of surviving and emerging as adults will increase by more than 50 percent if Arctic temperatures rise 2 °C. The findings are important because changes in the timing and intensity of their emergence affect their role as swarming pests of people and wildlife, as pollinators of tundra plants and as food for other species, including Arctic and migratory birds. CREDIT: Lauren Culler
  • Arctic Climatic Reversal allows Swarm of Mosquitoes to Flourish

The Arctic climatic reversal has allowed a swarm of mosquitoes to flourish in the region. This has proved to be problematic for the habitat’s animals including man.

A study found that warmer Arctic temperatures are causing the mosquitoes in the loci to undergo growth and early hatching. This in turn threatens the caribou population which they like to bite time after time.

These blood-sucking insects are a nuisance and an annoying addition to the list of Arctic flora and fauna. With a two degree rise in Arctic temperature, the mosquitoes will double in numbers. This spells trouble in the form of these tiny and thirsty Draculas.   

The transformations in the hatching of their eggs and their emergence will be a source of frustration for both man and beast. Their swarms will spread disease and act as a pestering pestilence of sorts.

But there are some redeeming points. Their role as pollinators of tundra plants and as food for migratory birds cannot be overlooked. Thus it seems that despite their troublesome nature, they too serve some small function in the scheme of things that Mother Nature has devised in all her divine wisdom. 

Such a model of ecology where the emergence and burgeoning of one species effects all other species can be applied to any other environment on earth. The susceptibility of various life forms to changes in temperature must be taken into consideration.

Due to global warming, insect populations are undergoing rapid changes. The inner biological functions, thriving and rates of development of these insects are involved in the equation.

When they don’t have many predators, these insect populations undergo growth levels that spiral out of control. In the past century or so, Arctic temperatures have gone higher and the mosquitoes in the habitat have a #1 predator in the form of the diving beetle.  

The mosquitoes will be seeing a radical change in their numbers and nature as temperatures continue to go up. Their adult stage now arrives earlier and they are able to suck blood from caribou and other fauna in greater quantities.

The future seems to be insecure for several species. While global warming means that diving beetles will feed on greater amounts of mosquitoes, a large number of mosquitoes will survive into adulthood too.

With mosquito survival rates reaching a whopping 53%, the calves among the caribou population will especially be vulnerable to these biting rascals. A lowering of caribou health spells hard luck for the region’s human inhabitants who are dependent on the large deer-like animal as a food source.   

"Increased mosquito abundance, in addition to northward range expansions of additional pest species, will have negative consequences for the health and reproduction of caribou," says lead author Lauren Culler, a postdoctoral researcher at Dartmouth's Dickey Center's Institute of Arctic Studies.

"Warming in the Arctic can thus challenge the sustainability of wild caribou and managed reindeer in Fennoscandia (Norway, Sweden, Finland and parts of northwest Russia), which are an important subsistence resource for local communities."

The study appears in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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