Iceland is the only mosquito-free country in the world – this article is our attempt at finding out the reason behind this miracle.
With over 3,500 species of mosquitoes known to mankind, and with each of these species having the biological capabilities to breed hundred at a time, it is highly doubtful if you there is anyone in the world who has not encountered a mosquito in his / her life. But did you know there is one such country in the world, whose citizens have never experienced a bite of a mosquito!
I am sure this would be a very hard to digest fact for us Indians who have been living with mosquitoes ever since we were born, they are everywhere – nurseries, schools, colleges, offices, and homes. Why is it such a problem in India, because the same climate that gives us lovely mangoes also gives us mosquitoes – the tropical climate!
There are few more countries which stand in solidarity alongside India for being inhabited by the highest number of mosquito species such as Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. While Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brazil are known to have the highest number of endemic species.
Speaking in terms of continents, all of Africa, South America, and Asia face problems regarding mosquito-borne diseases such as Malaria.
Anyways, going back to the mystical country which has no place for mosquitoes, the constantly buzzing blood-sucking mosquitoes – the answer is Iceland!
Mind you, Iceland is infested from other blood-sucking insects such as lice, fleas, bedbugs, and midges. But just No Mosquitoes!
😋Fun Fact – Okay, technically, Iceland has just one mosquito – a semi-alive one placed inside a jar of alcohol at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History for some time in the 1980s, when a biologist captured it in an airplane.
Why is Iceland mosquito free?
Duh, it’s in the name itself, Ice cold climate! But something more obvious than that is why this country is not on the list of mosquito infected nations, is also backed by research as well. The cold temperatures have not forbidden mosquitoes to breed in Antarctica but why not in Iceland? Especially when mosquitoes are found in some of Iceland’s neighboring countries such as Norway, Denmark, and Greenland!
There are three possible theories to it; either the mosquitoes have not entered Iceland yet, if they have entered – then probably they have not found ideal grounds to lay their eggs, or simply coz Iceland’s climate does not suit the mosquitoes.
Another scientific theory around this is the supposed chemical composition of Iceland’s water and soil which makes it absolutely un-inhabitable for the mosquitoes.
Unlike the scientific reasons, a natural reason is this feature of Iceland which contributes to this “No Country for Mosquitoes” – the absence of any lakes in Iceland which does not provide the required breeding grounds for proliferation.
In the Arctic region and even in Greenland – there are numerous shallow ponds where mosquitoes lay eggs that hatch into larvae, which eventually become blood-hungry mosquitoes.
Shallow ponds are breeding grounds because of the ability to first heat up and thaw once the temperatures begin to rise. Such warm climates mean more and more mosquitoes can survive until they reach the adult stage. Simply put, the mosquito pupa hibernates beneath ice during winter, hatches, and takes off when the climate gets warmer during spring.
And surprise, surprise – Iceland has no such shallow ponds or lakes in which mosquitoes breed. The country witnesses three main freezes and thaws throughout the year and in such cold climates, mosquitoes lack the required time to mature; just as the larvae are maturing, another freeze comes their way!
Yes, at this point – any well-read individual will have this question – will the climate at Iceland remain like this considering global warming is already ushering in drastic climate changes across the world.
Unfortunately, this is resonated by the scientists as well that Iceland may not be mosquito-free forever. Alas! 😕