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It’s a bird, a plane; no it’s… an invasive mosquito? Defined by Steven A. Juilano and L. Philip Lounibos “invasive” species are “introduced species that have increased and spread, creating the potential for impacts on native species and ecosystems, or human activities” (558). With over 3000 species of mosquitoes, you may ask yourself: Why did certain species establish themselves as invasive? What does it take to become invasive? and What will the introduction of new invasive species have on me? Reviewing the qualities of an invasive mosquito and the biotic and abiotic characteristics that enable “non-native” mosquitoes to transition; discussing the effects of ecological processes and the subsequent formation of invasive species; and lastly evaluating the role mosquitoes play in human and animal health; Juilano and Lounibos produce a succinct analysis of the invasive mosquito and its environment.
In their article, “Ecology of Invasive Mosquitoes: Effects on Resident Species and in Human Health” Juilano and Lounibos attest the transition of “non-native”, “species that have neither spread widely nor had important impact” (Juilano 558), to invasive species to such ecological processes as interspecific competition, predation, and parasitism.
“Everything you can do I can do better, I can do everything better than you,” so goes the biotic interspecific competition of established “non-native” mosquitoes. From a lack of male libido in the A. aegypti mosquito, which resulted in its displacement by the more sexually active A. albopictus mosquito, to a “primogenitorial” approach to area claims, the quest for invasive status proves to be a highly competitive one. The presence of predators and parasites act as natural combatants to invasive species. However, the A. albopictus used paraisitsm to established itself as an invasive species. Like the child who gets everyone sick but never catches anybody’s cold, the albopictus mosquito infected its rival species with ascogregarina, but proved immune to its rival’s parasite. Additionally, though the invading specie appears more vulnerable to predation, it is also the superior competitor. Furthermore, a balance between “between competitive ability and vulnerability to predation may affect invasion success” (Juliano 566).
All this said, any fighter knows the venue of the fight can be just as significant as the competitor himself; therefore, the effects of competition can vary depending on the environment in which the reaction occurs. Steven A. Juilano and L. Philip Lounibos emphasize this thesis with their discussion of the abiotic environmental effects on the mosquito and resource depletion. Climate limitation in particular is a paramount factor in a mosquito’s journey towards invasive status. The article remark, “climate impacts life cycle stages that are not involved in competition, and these impacts can determine invasion success, effects of invaders and community composition following invasion” (Juilano 569).
Lastly, the article touches upon the affect invasive and established non-nativemosquitoes have on human and animal health. For example, the yellow fever outbreak in the 16-17th centuries was a result of “simultaneous introduction of a novel vector and novel pathogen” (Juilano 569). From Africa, yellow fever spread due to the slave trade, as both the disease and the African mosquitoes that transmitted the virus were introduced to the environment, catastrophe ensued. In Brazil, on the other hand, the introduction of a new species of mosquito caused a malaria epidemic. Yet, the “independent introductions of a novel vector and a novel pathogen” are the most popular origins of public health outbreaks, and caused the West Nile Virus panic in North America.
So, the next time you go to smash a mosquito think twice. Though bothersome, your residential mosquito is nothing compared to its invasive cousin.

Juilano, Steven A. and L. Phillip Lounibos. “Ecology of Invasive Mosquitoes: Effects on Resident Species and in Human Health.” Ecology Letters. 8 (2005): 558-574. Web.

3 Responses to “Ecology of Invasive Mosquitoes: Effects on Resident Species and in Human Health”

  1. Alex Boehrer says:

    I thought your choice of article was very intriguing; this is definitely a topic that directly applies to human well-being. I liked how the piece seems to take a conversational tone and avoids overly scientific language in order to clearly communicate. However some sentences seem to run on a bit, making your point confusing at times. For example in the first paragraph you use a series of semi-colons to link phrases, but as the reader I was somewhat lost by the end of the sentence. Overall your post was very interesting and you make some good points about the differences between invasive and native species.

  2. Jeff Slavin says:

    So dude I commend you on your introduction. Well done.

    Grabbing the reader and explaining what you are going to discuss in an interesting albeit run on way, really enticed me to continue. your great use of quotes, provides accountability and viability to your writing. I noticed in my writing that I use quotes in my sentence like they are my own words. You basically did this but had trouble transitioning from quotes to your own words. Work on transitions and flow a little bit so that your writing does not seem so dense.

    The run on sentences made the writing seem confusing and I did not know how to comprehend all the information that you were throwing my way. Short and simple is what all my teachers say and it has been proven time and again to be the best practice. Every idea should have its own sentence because the human mind cannot process many novel ideas at one time. Run on sentences confuse the mind due to this. Unique yet similar ideas should have individual sentences that flow together to form a well sculpted piece of writing.

    Your post was stimulating and you have good points on the variation between native and invasive species.

  3. Trevor says:

    I thought your use of analogies was helpful to draw the reader into the subject, to make it easily relatable to someone with no connection to the field. This was a good way to break down some of the more obtuse thought patterns it sounds like the article contained. That being said, the analogies did confuse me to some extent as to whether the information was coming from the paper’s author or from research he cited. The actual hypothesis and conclusion could also have been more clearly identified.

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