New research suggests climate change could enable mosquitoes to evolve more rapidly

From Yale Climate Connections
April 10, 2019

hink of the world’s deadliest animal, and what comes foremost to mind? (For purposes of discussion and fear of losing readers, let’s exclude humans.)

Saltwater crocodiles get a lot of votes, and deservedly. So too do black mamba snakes – slithering at speeds of up to 12.5 miles per hour, but perhaps not so well-known to many. Pufferfish and golden poison dart frogs also garner their share of votes.

But closer to home (at least for most of us), it’s actually mosquitoes that earn the “We’re No. 1” ranking. Adding to the fear factor, mosquitoes also find alluring our human body temperatures and the carbon dioxide we exhale.

The World Health Organization reports more than 700,000 people around the world die from vector-borne diseases each year, and 438,000 global malaria deaths in 2015 alone. It’s for sure that not all mosquitoes carry the makings of Chikungunya, West Nile virus, Zika virus, and yellow fever that contribute to that yearly bounty, and some diseases are carried by vectors other than mosquitoes.

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