Since the ZIka virus began rapidly spreading last year scientists have only cited the mosquito species Aedes aegypti as the culprit behind the transmission of the virus to humans. However, a recent study found that another common species has also been doing its part to spread this nasty virus. Brazilian scientists collected hundreds of Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitos and found that a large number of them were carrying the Zika virus. However, other studies performed on the species suggest that while these mosquitos can carry the virus, they are probably not as likely to spread the disease. Something in their biology makes them less effective at transmitting the virus to humans through their bite. They also exhibit more normal mosquito behavior such as feeding outside in the evening as opposed to during the day like the Aedes aegypti, making it easier for us to avoid them. This new finding does complicate their efforts to control this epidemic, as most of the work done to find ways to fight this disease have focused solely on the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It looks like there’s a new wrench in this already complicated situation.
Why do you think scientists haven’t found out about this other mosquito species until now?