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blood for blood to live it together

ASAPP: Hello Mrs, you value your anonymity I guess…

The Tiger Mosquito Brigades (Strasbourg branch): No, no, I assume: I feed on blood to reproduce. Yours, your cat’s, your dog’s or even your horse’s, it doesn’t matter. I have nothing against humans. I even particularly appreciate you, if I dare say [ce disant, elle fixe la base de notre cou, longuement]. My name is Albane. Albane Pictus.

ASAPP: You have nothing against us, but the diseases that you mosquitoes transmit represent 17% of infectious diseases in the world. They cause a million deaths every year! “The mosquito is the deadliest animal for humans, ahead of humans themselves”, writes Elise Mourot in a thesis defended in 2020! (Biodiversity and mosquitoes in the face of climate change and globalization – Impacts on health in mainland France, which served us well in preparing for this interview.) It’s colossal all the same.

Albane Pictus : Wow, take it easy. There are 3000 species of mosquitoes on this planet, 300 which bite humans and barely a hundred which transmit so-called vector-borne diseases: they are not transmitted from human to human, we are the vector.

ASAPP : Certainly, but your species, the tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus, established since 2014 in the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg – 17 of the 33 municipalities colonized today – transmits nasty diseases.

PA : But we have nothing to do with it! It is a matter of life or death for me and my fellows. Only the female bites because she finds in the blood the nutrients necessary for the maturation of her eggs. It is during this “blood meal”—on a primate, a human, who knows—that I can catch an infectious agent—chikungunya, dengue fever, zika. Most of the time, we digest them. But sometimes they pass the wall of our stomach. From the intestine, the infectious agent colonizes us completely, up to the salivary glands. And that’s how you get infected, you human, at the next blood meal.

ASAPP : Because you need several to give life?!

PA : Sometimes, yes, it depends.

ASAPP : And you, where are you? Without being too indiscreet.

PA : As long as you invite me to lunch, no problem, I answer all your questions. [Elle sourit.] Me, I am a young adult, I left my chrysalis recently. I had 48 hours to find a competent male, that’s it. It will be the one and only love of my life. I stored all his genetic material in my spermatheca. Now I need nutrients.

ASAPP : You need to suck our blood to fertilize your eggs, say so.

PA : Yes, fine. I’m clean anyway, cases of dengue there are not heavy in Superloinsheim.

ASAPP : Wait, still 62 reports in 2020 in the Grand Est.

PA : Yes but all cases imported from distant lands, rhooo.

ASAPP : Certainly, but this same year we have 3 cases of autochthonous dengue fever in Occitania and 10 in PACA…

PA : It’s not my fault. I was born just 10 days ago!

ASAPP : But maybe it’s a cousin of yours?

PA: Wait! are you a journalist or a cop?! At the same time, each of my peers lays around 3000 eggs, can you imagine our cousins?

ASAPP : Oh yeah anyway. No, but you are right, we are digressing here. What’s your message, what do you want to tell our readers – I’m recording everything, look at the camera in front.

PA : I sincerely believe that we can and must live together.

ASAPP : You are serious ?

PA : Totally. We are a food resource. It does not make me happy to bring up the subject, but a swallow consumes up to 3000 mosquitoes in one day, bats are the same, but at night. That’s why I hate them. They freak me out.

ASAPP : Ok, but there are plenty of other insects that have this role.

PA : Yes, but our larvae clean up the aquatic environment, a little marginally, but still. And don’t say it too loudly, but there are very serious people who remind us that we are an engine of human evolution: the diseases we carry mainly eliminate fragile people.

ASAPP : Yes, we have already been sung this refrain. There are also specialists, Janet McAllister in the United States, or closer to us, Frédéric Simard, in Montpellier, who think that you are not irreplaceable. That other species would take your place and that Darwinism has a good back.

PA : Perhaps. But nothing says that the species that would replace us would not do worse. Also, good luck getting rid of us.

ASAPP : Why ?

PA : Because climate change works for us. The evolutions forecast for variables such as the minimum temperature of the coldest month and the rainfall are very favorable to us. Incidentally, you can launch the fight plans you want, you have generally done nawak. Too bad for you, good for us.

ASAPP : That is to say ?

PA : We have conquered the planet in particular thanks to the transport of used tires. We are children of globalization! Go fight this. And the problem of vector-borne diseases is all the more serious because you are doing everything to destroy biodiversity.

ASAPP : Which report ?

PA : When there is biodiversity, our bites also target cul-de-sac species, which do not develop dengue, chic or Zika. These species are disappearing and the prevalence of these diseases is automatically increasing in humans.

ASAPP : Ok, let’s admit it.

PA : Ah, there you go ! Well if not, this lunch?

ASAPP : What do you want?

PA : I have my little idea… [Elle décolle, un bourdonnement lancinant se fait entendre dans la pièce]

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