Iceland is mosquito-free and this is the reason why

Photo by Luciano Braga on Unsplash
  • Mosquitoes are an unwelcome intruder in every household 
  • In Iceland, there are no mosquitoes due to its rapid changes in climate temperatures inhibiting them to complete their life cycle
  • Only one mosquito was captured in 1980s, aboard the plane from Greenland and is now under preservation at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History

Mosquitoes, which consist of more than 3,000 species are just one of the most unfriendly visitors any outdoor event can have.  A tiny bite leaves an itchy and bumpy feeling on your skin leading to some serious conditions at times.  The whiny chorus we hear at night reminds us of their proximity waiting for an opportunity to enjoy dinner of human juice.

Image via Pixabay

However, did you know that there are no mosquitoes in Iceland?  Though it can be found in its neighboring countries, Greenland and Norway, Iceland is mosquito-free due to its rapid changes in climate conditions, according to the Icelandic Web of Science (IWOS).

“In Greenland and Northern Scandinavia, the [mosquito] pupa hibernates beneath ice during the winter and hatches as a fly as soon as the ice melts. This happens in spring, as polar winters are continuous. Icelandic winters are variable. There can be a sudden rise in temperature in the middle of winter, with a thaw, then the temperature will drop again.

Under these conditions, the pupa would hatch. The mosquito would then need to find prey from which to suck blood, then it would need several days for the eggs to mature, to meet a mate and lay the eggs in a pond or marsh. Changes in climate in Iceland are so rapid that the mosquito does not have sufficient time to complete its life cycle. Under these conditions, the pupa would not be mature when temperatures dropped again and ice formed on the ponds.”

The only place you can find this insect in Iceland is at Icelandic Institute of Natural History where it is now kept in a jar of alcohol.   The lone sample was caught by Mr. Gislason in the 1980s inside a plane while he was on board from Greenland.

However, with global warming, scientists predicted that this country may not be mosquito-free forever.

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash


Sources:  Brainjet   Iceland Magazine   The New York Times