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How Did Something This Tiny Become One Of The World’s Most Efficient Killers
Someone once said that everything on earth kills, one way or another. This might be true, but there is one stalker on this earth that is more deadly than most. If it doesn’t kill you outright, it passes on horrible diseases, some of which cannot ever be completely cured. It dines almost exclusively on humans, even though it doesn’t travel very far in its lifetime. It can sit on something as small as your fingernail and yet, it has tormented humans since the beginning of time, been the plague of most military excursions, and has wiped out the population of entire cities.
Although there are literally thousands of species that live on this earth, few have been as relentless and deadly as the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Yes, we are talking about a simple mosquito. This tiny insect has been the root cause of the spread of numerous epidemics which have spread across the world including yellow fever, dengue fever, Chikungunya, and Zika.
This annoying pest is actually one of the most efficient killers anywhere in the world. It was the Aedes mosquito that caused an outbreak of yellow fever in the 1890’s that actually caused the French to throw in the towel when they were constructing the Panama Canal. During the Spanish-American war, it sickened more people than the war killed. This one little mosquito was the culprit behind the yellow fever outbreak in the 19th century that occurred in New Orleans and Memphis. As of today, this little bugger infects about 20 million people each year with dengue fever.
How did this little mosquito turn into such an efficient killer through the transmission of diseases and why is it such a threat to humans?
Part of the explanation lies in its biology. The other part is in this mosquitoes almost unbelievable ability to change and adapt.
First, this type of mosquito is found in parts of the world that half of all humans call home. It has evolved over the years to thrive and breed in the places where humans live. It seems as if the more densely populated an area is, the better this mosquito likes it. This insect has learned how to breed in the tiniest spots including things like bottle caps, depressions in cement, and the water underneath potted plants. They breed in the drainage pipes such as in showers, toilets, and even your your dog’s water bowl! However, what most people don’t know is that the larvae have evolved to the point where they don’t even necessarily need water to survive. The eggs can lay dormant for up to one year, sometimes more, and then they hatch once they are underwater. The eggs can “glue” themselves to just about everything and anything including the edges of a birdbath, an old tin can, old tires, or anything that might hold water.
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