Natural selection delivers invisible mosquitoes

Man has lived beside the Mediterranean since the 4th Millennium BC. The first mosquito was no doubt sitting in the marshy backwaters waiting for him and her; and the first tourist was already on their way.

Then it was bite, slap, hit.

For six thousand years man has been exerting effective natural selection on Mediterranean mosquitoes with only the fastest and sharpest living to bite another day. This means that today on the beaches of North East Tuscany you can be bitten and never even see your attacker. ARGH!

Bite. Slap. Miss.

Separate to our recent discussion on the beach in North East Tuscany, researchers at the California Institute of Technology have been studying why it is so hard to swat a fly. They say…

“At the mere hint of a threat, the insects adjust their preflight stance to flee in the opposite direction, ensuring a clean getaway, they said in a finding that helps explain why flies so easily evade swipes from their human foes.”

Full story here <link>

I’m prepared to bet that the mosquitoes in Tuscany are at least as clever.


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