New Tropical Invasive Mosquitos Found in Florida
Ever since the Zika virus epidemic, mosquitoes have posed a great threat in Florida, leading Entomologist Matthew DeGennaro to create a trap to capture the deadly mosquitoes.
During an October research trip, Entomologists Nathan Burkett-Cadena of University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, together with Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory researcher Erik Blosser, have found two new invasive types of mosquitoes.
Burkett-Cadena said "'Hundreds' is substantial, particularly when you get a hundred from a single trap. This is not a single specimen that blew in from a storm - this is a reproducing species." Burket-Cadena adds "Nobody had this on their radar," he told The Miami Herald.
The traps were set near Florida's Everglades and caught thousands of Culex panocossa and hundreds of Aedeomyia squamipennis. WUSF News reported that both speicies are disease-carrying mosquitoes that can transmit viruses to humans. They lay eggs on weeds floating in canals and drainage ponds.
There are nine new invasive mosquitoes that have been found within the decade, which brings the total to 15 already living in Florida.
Researchers believe that their arrival was brought upon the sign of environmental change, increased tourism and global trade, especially in areas with most tourists, Miami and Homestead. The mosquitoes are commonly found in the Caribbean and Latin America.
The Aedeomyia squamipennis mosquito feeds on birds, which may spread bird malarias. The mosquito carries viruses such as West Nile and Eastern Equine Ecncephalitis. There is high risk that infected birds may infect humans and other mammals.
The Culex panocossa poses a greater threat as it carries the Venezuela Equine Encephalitis, which can be lethal to children and to the elderly.
"It's pretty complex and pretty difficult for virus transmission to occur, which is a good thing," Janet McAllister said, Entomologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.