'Giant' mosquitoes predicted to invade Florida

University of South Florida-St. Petersburg biologist Deby Cassill says the gallinipper mosquito first showed up after Tropical Storm Debby. Experts believe the insect will invade Florida during the summer rainy season.
March 13, 2013 8:49:35 AM PDT
Mosquito season in Florida has always been bad -- but now there's a new bug in town. Residents and visitors will be swatting a new ''giant'' mosquito.

Whether you're on a downtown stroll, eating lunch outside, or playing golf this summer you have a new "friend" to look out for. The state considered by many to have the most bugs is about to get a new tenant: A mosquito 20 times the size of the one you're used to, that feeds day and night, and has a sting some say feels like a poke from a knife.

"We're used to the little tiny ones that go to the back of your knees," said Deby Cassill, a biologist at the University of South Florida-St. Petersburg. "This one's right in your face. It's aggressive. It's got a nasty bite."

Cassill says the gallinipper mosquito first showed up after Tropical Storm Debby. Experts believe the insect will invade Florida during the summer rainy season.

"This thing's like a pterodactyl in the mosquito world, it's huge, and for me exciting, for most people, a little scary," Cassill said.

The bad news is the gallinipper targets humans, animals, even fish, with a sting that can penetrate clothing. But there is some good news: it eats the eggs of the mosquito we're used to, and it's doesn't carry West Nile, encephalitis or any other serious disease.


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