Invasive mosquito in Florida

Jordan Ramos, Reporter

For the first time in 75 years, there is a new invasive species of mosquito. Scientists have said that it spread due to climate change. University of Florida (UF) researchers use computer modeling of the region’s climate in order to project where the insect might go next. The mosquito was found last November in two Florida counties, Broward, and Miami-Dade. 

UF did a follow-up study on March 3 and found that the mosquito could soon spread to other counties. The mosquito called the “Aedes Scapularis” is aggressive about biting people and can carry several diseases such as yellow fever and the Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus.

Researchers are concerned that the mosquito could spread viruses to people due to its aggression, but scientists are not certain that they can do so. They say there is a high risk for transmission. However, this is especially true because the insect enjoys environments where there are a lot of people.

Aedes Scapularis is normally found in Texas, Central America, and around the South of the U.S. It’s also found in the Caribbean. The mosquito larva was first found in Florida in 1945. Only three larvae were found in the Florida Keys. 

There are currently 16 other invasive mosquito species in Florida. They are caught by trapping the insects with dry ice. Researchers then separate the bugs into their species. The coloration of a mosquito’s legs can help identify them. 

The species is still not well established in Florida, so there have not been any cases of transmission so far. It’s been over 100 years since yellow fever was recorded in Florida. Researchers are keeping an eye on the mosquito in order to see if it spreads.


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