The climate change comes as a threat to Arctic denizens like polar bears, but it is all celebrations for the local mosquitoes since they prosper with warm weather. According to researchers, the rising temperatures enabled faster growth of Arctic mosquitoes from their pupal stage, which in return expands in numbers.
The Dartmouth College’s Institute for Arctic Studies used field observations and controlled experiments to ration the effects of increasing temperatures. They further scrutinized the mosquito population in ponds near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland. At the same time, they developed climate-population model that would analyze the survival rate of mosquitoes in their life stages– from immature stages.
According to the study, there is a high probability of close to 50% of mosquitoes surviving and emerging as adults if Arctic temperatures rise two degrees Celsius. However, the Lead author of the study, Lauren Culler, said that the increased mosquito abundance would probably have negative consequences for the health and reproduction of caribou.
Caribou roam the tundra in small herds for the better part of the year. However, twice a year, they cross into the inland regions. They have been detected to seek refuge to the top of a windy ridge where there are rarer mosquitos even though their food may be of lower quality.
Mosquitoes feed by sucking blood from animals. As such, there would be additional adults flying around in search of blood. Nevertheless, if the animals spend more time evading insects and less time scavenging for high-quality food, Caribou health is likely to decline.
According to Dr. Culler, mosquitoes may have the ability to thrive in the short term but the Arctic warming could interrupt their capacity to reproduce and especially if they emerge way too early.
Additionally, the biology of Arctic mosquitoes is likely to be disrupted if winters become more variable with freezing ponds and thaw cycles.
The study of Arctic mosquitoes gives a clearer explanation of how increasing temperatures affects animals both small and large and in unexpected ways.