Living With Invasives

Mosquito Mouthparts

Mosquito Mouthparts

The Zika Virus is an example of an invasive species. Originally from Africa, it has now spread around the globe to every continent but Antarctica and hundreds of remote islands. The Zika Virus depends on a mosquito, Aedes aegypti, for most of its transmission.

Aedes aegypti is also an invasive species. A native of Sub-Saharan Africa, Aedes aegypti began a long association with humans when humans first moved into the African forests. Aedes aegypti was able to find suitable hosts (humans) and nearby habitat in the water collected by people. Aedes aegypti adapted to the urban environment and has lived in close association with humans since then. As trade from Europe increased, Aedes aegypti spread as larvae swimming in the casks of water brought on board the ships. Aedes aegypti had colonized much of the world by the 17th century.

Successful invasive species can pave the way for other species that depend on them. Without the spread of the mosquito, viruses such as Zika and yellow fever could not themselves become invasive.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Health, Invasive Species, Mosquito diseases, Zika. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Living With Invasives

  1. Pingback: Living With Invasives – Entomo Planet

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