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In the Eye of the Tiger

Global spread of Asian tiger mosquito could fuel outbreaks of tropical disease in temperate regions

11:19am, June 13, 2013

BIG BITES  An aggressive biter, the Asian tiger mosquito can carry a variety of pathogens that cause debilitating diseases in humans and some domestic animals.

There is no shortage of mosquitoes in North America, and adding one more variety might seem like just a minor uptick in summertime’s itchy-scratchy. But the Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, comes with some particularly irritating characteristics. It’s an aggressive hit-and-run biter that frequently lives in close contact with humans. It’s a daytime feeder that dines on humans, dogs, livestock, birds and a host of wild animals. “The feeding behavior of Aedes albopictus is very catholic,” says Duane Gubler, a vector-borne disease expert at Duke–National University of Singapore. “It feeds on everything.”

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