One of the most positive features of Iceland is that mosquitoes are not found here. Yup, no mosquitoes! You can find mosquitoes in Siberia, Antarctica, Amazon, Sahara but not in Iceland. That’s something they can be extremely grateful about (and we are jealous), as those little insects are without a doubt the most deadly animals on the plant, (It’s not sharks or the poison dart frog. Mosquitoes are more deadly. My kid still can’t digest this fact) spreading illness that kill around 830.000 human beings every year in South America, Central America, Africa, Mexico and much of Asia. In other temperate and industrialized nations, mosquito bites have in recent decades primarily been an annoying problem but still causing some deaths each year.
With 2017’s widespread outbreak of the Zika virus the focus is back on mosquitoes in locations that had previously eliminated mosquito-borne diseases. Many regions in the United States have for example the kind of mosquitoes that can spread the infection.
At least that is something Icelanders do not have to fret about in Iceland.
The interesting question is why are mosquitoes not found in Iceland, while being common in countries that surround it?
According to The Icelandic Web of Science (IWOS) there are 2 species in Greenland, 28 species in Norway and Britain and 41 species can be found in the neighbouring countries to the East of Iceland.
The main reason for the non-existence of mosquitoes in Iceland, discusses IWOS, is most likely to be found in these Icelandic conditions:
In Northern Scandinavia and Greenland, the [mosquito] pupa hibernates below ice during the winter season, and hatches as a fly as soon as the ice melts. This takes place in spring, as polar winters are continuous. Icelandic winters are variable. There can be an abrupt increase in temperature in the middle of winter season, with a thaw, then the temperatures will drop again.
Under these conditions the pupa would hatch (…wait for it…). The mosquito would then need to find a victim from which to draw blood, then it would require a number of days for the eggs to mature, to meet a mate and lay the eggs in a marsh or a pond. Changes in climate in Iceland are so quick that the mosquito does not have adequate time to finish its lifecycle. Under these conditions the pupa would not be mature when temperatures dropped again and ice formed on the ponds.
Hence, no mosquitoes! And now a thought provoking question (more like a wish). Why don’t mosquitoes suck fat? 😡