The Future Will Be Itchy, Deadly

Great. Here during the current mass extinction event, the first of its kind to be caused by the activity of a single species (that would be human beings), a global conservation study released at this week’s UN Biodiversity Summit in Japan says that one-fifth of all animal and plant species on the are now endangered. Awesome animals, like the Siberian tiger, the largest of all the big cats; and the fossa, the top of Madagascar’s food chain, a creature so interesting, that zoologists don’t even know what family it belongs to (is it a type of cat, a mongoose, what?); and the sad and adorable and just recently discovered snub-nosed monkey of Myanmar, already so oppressed by its anatomy and environment that it has to sit with its head tucked between its knees whenever it rains — all on the brink of nevermore.

You know who seems to be thriving, though? (Besides bed bugs and Asian carp, I mean.) Mosquitoes! The most hateful, annoying, torturous plague of a life-form evolution ever came up with. And the most lethal! Mosquitoes are responsible, through the malarial parasite they carry, for one human death every forty seconds (mostly children, mostly in Africa). Mosquitoes have been responsible, in fact, for half of all human deaths since the stone age! Mosquitoes are doing so well, in fact, that a single strain, the Anopheles Gambiae of Africa, is mutating into two separate species. Each adapted to suit different environmental conditions, so more and more of the planet can be covered in their teeming swarms.

So that’s the future we have to look forward to: less species of everything else, more species of malarial mosquitoes.