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In warming Arctic, mosquitoes may live long and prosper

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Rising temperatures at the top of the world may be bad news for Arctic denizens like polar bears, but good news for the local mosquitoes, pesky bloodsuckers that prosper with warmer weather.

Researchers said on Tuesday that increasing temperatures were enabling Arctic mosquitoes to grow more quickly and emerge sooner from their pupal stage, greatly expanding their numbers and menacing the caribou whose blood they eat.

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The findings illustrate the complex and sometimes unpredictable consequences of climate change, particularly in sensitive regions like the Arctic, the researchers said.

Arctic mosquitoes develop in shallow springtime tundra ponds formed by melting snow. The researchers studied mosquito populations in ponds near Kangerlussuaq, Greenland.

They monitored the number of the mosquitoes and their life stages. They also conducted lab experiments to measure the effects of temperature on mosquito development time.

They concluded that if Arctic temperatures rise by 2 degrees C (3.6 degrees F) – a level in the mid-range of predictions by a U.N. panel for Arctic warming this century – mosquitoes would have a 53 percent better chance of maturing to adulthood.

The researchers said mosquitoes were already emerging two weeks sooner than in the past and experiencing accelerated growth that lets them reduce their time in the ponds when they could be eaten by their main predators, diving beetles.

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“In response to biting insects, caribou have been observed to run to the top of a windy ridge where there are fewer mosquitoes but their food may be of lower quality,” said ecologist Lauren Culler of Dartmouth College’s Institute of Arctic Studies, who led the study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

“In addition, more adults flying around in search of blood would increase the intensity of insect harassment.”

Caribou health could decline if the animals spend more time avoiding insects and less time foraging on high-quality food, Culler said.Culler said while mosquitoes may thrive in the short term, Arctic warming eventually could disrupt their ability to reproduce if they begin to emerge too early before the animals whose blood they eat are available on the landscape.

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“In addition, if winters become more variable such that ponds go through freeze and thaw cycles, it could completely disrupt the biology of Arctic mosquitoes and kill many of the larvae early on in development. It’s not all good news for the mosquitoes,” Culler said.


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America hits five million COVID-19 cases: Johns Hopkins

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The United States has registered over five million cases in the coronavirus pandemic, Johns Hopkins University's real-time tally showed Sunday, as well as over 162,000 deaths as the country struggles to control the disease.

The US tally reached 5,000,603 cases on Sunday morning and 162,441 deaths -- both totals by far the highest of any country in the world.

Polls have showed a large majority of voters unhappy with President Donald Trump's handling of the crisis, ahead of the November election that could see him ousted from office.

"The United States just passed 5 million reported infections of COVID-19," his Democrat opponent Joe Biden tweeted Sunday.

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‘Babbling and incoherent’: Internet stunned by Kudlow’s trainwreck appearance on CNN

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While no one accused White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow of being drunk on the air this morning (well a few did), he definitely seemed unprepared to speak with "State of the Union" fill-in host Dana Bash, seemingly to unable to get his talking points and numbers straight when asked about Donald Trump's plan to supplement unemployment payments.

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Fox News host: Teachers practicing COVID safety are like ‘George Wallace standing in the school door’

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Fox News host Mark Levin on Sunday accused teachers who want COVID-19 safety measures of re-enacting Jim Crow-era segregation rules.

Levin made the remarks during a rant about President Donald Trump's executive action on COVID-19 financial relief.

"Democrat governors have shut down this economy from sea to shining sea," Levin opined. "And they like it both ways, the Democrats. They want to lock up everybody like we're lamb in cages and then they want to complain about the economic consequences."

"And then they say, this president, look what he's doing," he continued. "Let me tell you, payback is a bitch. You remember Obama with his phone and his pen. Well, apparently he left his phone and his pen and President Trump picked it up."

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