A edes Mosquito identified as the vector of Zika virus, cannot fly more than 400 meters. The mosquito is, however, capable of making any region in the world as its own home except Antarctica. The vector not only carries Zika virus but is also identified as a member of the family responsible for spreading Chikungunya, Dengue and Yellow fever.
Native of sub-Saharan Africa, the mosquitoes lived in tree holes and foods often included fruits and blood meals from non-human animals. Surprisingly, these mosquitoes were darker in color compared with the form that is currently found in human habitats. Until this day, the ancestral form exists in forests of sub-Saharan Africa.
The study indicates human habitation, changing the environment and drying up of rivers in Africa led to the formation of different subspecies overtime. The migration of the mosquitoes first took place through Europeans and the first recorded epidemic of yellow fever was recorded on 1648. However, Haiti recorded the presence of the mosquito in its territories in 1495.
Later, Spain and Portugal made frequent travel to west Africa in order to buy slaves. This period is the approximate timing in which Aedes and family spread to Europe, Americas, and Asia. The findings are evidenced through DNA sequencing and large-scale single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) Analysis. Also, genetic variation supports the migration theory that the mosquito first spread to the new world and then to Australia and Asia.
The virology studies indicate that arboviruses evolve to adapt to the conditions of the vector over time when mosquitoes consume blood meals from humans.
This piece of writing is based on the paper, History of domestication and spread of Aedes aegypti – A Review by Jeffrey Powell and Walter Tabachnick and the full abstract of the paper can be found here.