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The Only Insect In Antarctica

Jan 22, 2024

The Only Insect In Antarctica

Antarctica and insects


Mosquitoes and ticks are persistent little pests, adept at surviving winter conditions to bother us again next spring, but there's actually another insect that's even more hardy in the cold. Luckily, you're not going to cross paths with it anywhere in North America.


The continent of Antarctica is one of the most inhospitable places on the planet. Very few animal species can survive the extreme below freezing temperatures – mainly birds (like penguins) and sea animals (like seals). In fact, Antarctica has only one native insect species on the whole continent. It’s also the largest purely terrestrial animal in Antarctica, meaning it lives solely on land, rather than primarily or partially in the sea.


The Antarctic midge (belgica antarctica) is a very tiny flightless insect, only about 3 mm long. It survives the cold by burrowing to a depth of about 1 cm, which shields it from the extreme sub freezing temperatures in the air above. When a female Antarctic midge lays eggs, she secretes a protective layer of jelly over the eggs to keep them warm, prevent them from dehydrating, and providing their first food source upon hatching. After that, Antarctic midges feed on algae and bacteria, and they enjoy a life without any natural predators!


The Antarctic midge makes us grateful that most North American pests, like ticks and mosquitoes, take it easy during harsh winter weather conditions (just make sure you winterize your home against all kinds of bugs seeking warmth throughout the season). And when it’s time to reclaim your outdoor space, Mosquito Hero is here for you.


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