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The Asian Tiger Mosquito

Asian_tiger_mosquito.jpg If there's anything I dread as much as or more than the heat and humidity of a New York summer, it's the insects the weather brings out. One I particularly fear is the Asian tiger mosquito, or Aedes albopictus. I discovered these mosquitoes only last year. I'd go out into the yard, try to do some weeding, and immediately be swarmed by these quick, aggressive fliers.

Turns out I was lucky to have evaded them for as long as I have. The Asian tiger mosquito is an invasive species in the U.S. It was unintentionally introduced to the continental U.S. in 1985. And an indication of just how tenacious they are, these mosquitoes--which are native to Asia--are believed to have hitched a ride here through used tires imported from Japan. They don't need much water in which to lay and hatch their eggs. They're also active during the day.

But these mosquitoes are not just suburban irritants. Their range has increased as global temperatures have risen, and scientists are worried the diseases they can carry will spread as well. Asian tiger mosquitoes can transmit the viruses that cause dengue, encephalitis, and West Nile. An outbreak of chikungunya occurred in Italy last year, the first recorded instance of this virus being spread in Europe.

Asian Tiger Mosquito, Species Profiles (National Invasive Species Information Center)
Division of Vector Borne Infectious Diseases (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Chikungunya fever (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
"As Earth Warms Up, Tropical Virus Moves to Italy" (New York Times)

Photo: "Asian Tiger Mosquito" in Vero Beach, Florida, by smccann.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 18, 2008 12:09 PM.

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