In an exciting new study, researchers devised a climate model of Arctic mosquitoes populations, along with natural predators, including the diving beetle. Researchers estimated that a 2 degrees Celsius Arctic warming scenario will improve the mosquitoes’ survival rates by more than 50%. In order to confirm their theory, the team of scientists tracked the number of mosquitoes throughout all of their life stages.
Why was the study necessary? because overall temperatures in the Arctic areas of the world have risen at a much faster rate than the global rate, at least in the past century. Scientists believe that this could allow mosquitoes to change their migration patterns, with some ending in the Arctic during springtime. According to researchers, this change of pattern could have serious effects on the caribou populations from the northern regions.
The team hopes that their study will illustrate the complex consequences of climate change, especially in more extreme weather conditions such as those from the Arctic. Since global warming is now gaining some pace after a decade long break, climate will be rapidly changing across the world, leading to disastrous phenomenons such as hurricanes, foods and droughts.
Thanks to the increasing average temperatures, mosquitoes can now emerge out of their eggs two weeks sooner than in the past. They also tend to experience accelerated growth, which means that their main natural predator, the diving beetle, will not have enough time to prey on them.
Right now, in fact, there are mosquitoes in the Arctic, in the northern parts of Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia. The insects started to spread in the region during the last three decades. Soon, the caribou populations may be affected by the increasing number of mosquitoes in the Arctic. Many large mammals are know to chane their behaviour when mosquitoes are around. They might even migrate north to the snowy patches of the Arctics. Mosquitoes can also transmit diseases from a mammal to another by puncturing their skin.
Lauren Culler, who spends her days researching insects in Greenland, said that the “Warming in the Arctic can thus challenge the sustainability of wild caribou and managed reindeer in Fennoscandia, which are an important subsistence resource for local communities.”
Culler believes that, right now, the warmer Arctic temperatures are beneficial for the mosquito populations, but once the mosquitoes will start to reproduce too quickly, the cycle will break, as these insects will not have enough animal blood in the landscape to feed off.
The new research basically tells us that thanks to global warming, we can now put the world’s most hated insect on the list of organisms that will profit from the increasing temperatures, among snakes and cockroaches.
Photo Credits pixabay