E.O. Wilson Argues for Certain Mosquito Species Destruction

March 13, 2016

I dunno, but it seems kind of extreme, not to mention risky, to bio-engineer a mass mosquito die-off.  So Steve Paulson tracked down the world’s greatest living entomologist to see what he has to say.  E. O Wilson is sometimes called “the ant man” – that’s the insect he studied most – but he’s best known as the evolutionary biologist and a champion of biodiversity.  He’s 86 years old now, and has just finished what is probably his last book – called “Half Earth”.  It’s a passionate plea to save humanity by dedicating half the planet to nature.  You’d assume that Wilson would be happy to let mosquitos live in that half… but that’s not what he told Steve.



While it is certainly acceptable for a distinguished scholar of EO Wilson's stature to have a brain fart or two, it does not help the strength of his position when he juxtaposes two unrelated species of mosquito vectors on the public airwaves.

The problem with Wilson's comments wasn't that he "juxtaposes two unrelated species" - that was, in fact, the point of his advocacy, comparing the evolutionary and ecological roles of these two species - but that he seems to have forgotten that they belong to different genera. The vector for Zika, yellow fever, and many other diseases, is Aedes aegypti, not "Anopheles aegypti" as Wilson repeated stated. But you are right that it doesn't look good for a recognized entomologist to screw up on terminology like that!