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dimanche 10 août 2014

Animals that don't Exist

The Nazi Mosquito

The nazi mosquito, Culex nazius, is one of the lesser-known experimental leftovers of World War II. Other than the massive loss of human live and a complete lack of humanity, the second World War is also known for its strange experiments, ranging from the absurdly cruel to the simply hilarious. It seems governments were ready to try anything that might give them a military edge. And they often did.
The fact that Nazi Scientists at Dachau were studying methods to effectively air-drop malaria-carrying mosquitoes into enemy territory is no secret anymore. Both the Allies and the Japanese were conducting research into biological warfare at the time, and it is no surprise the Nazis did the same, even though Hitler publicly prohibited such activities. Whether these programs operated with or without the Führer's consent is as of yet unknown. But the fact of the matter is, air-dropping Anopheles was but one of several practical uses of mosquitoes that was being studied.
The origin of the nazi mosquito resided in one simple fact: mosquitoes are annoying. More than one front had reported being unable to operate properly due to the presence of mosquitoes. Soldiers became unable to sleep due to the constant buzzing, and the itching bites sapped moral, and transmitted diseases. In short, mosquitoes were a pest. Up to this point, however, they were equally so for friend and foe. But if mosquitoes could be trained to attack one camp more than the other, the advantage would be enormous.
The exact files on how the Nazi scientists tried to train mosquitoes have been lost, but it is believed that natural selection would have been the main means of creating a desired breed, genetic manipulation not having been perfected yet. One way or another, the result was a sub-species of mosquitoes much more ferocious in its blood-sucking habits, although still unable to differentiate between friend and foe. As the war ended and facilities were abandoned, it seems that the nazi mosquito escaped the confines of the laboratory were it had been created.
Due to its voracious nature, it propagated throughout Europe with amazing speed. Displacing local mosquito populations, it quickly flourished in the war-torn remnants of towns and villages. The constant comings and goings of overseas war personnel allowed it to colonize the whole world in a matter of years, and today, the nazi mosquito is the most widespread species of Culicidae on the planet.
In addition to being more of a pest than other species in and of itself, the nazi mosquito's savage competition for resources has led other species around the globe to increase in virulence as well, and it is believed that the spread of the nazi mosquito is the reason for the steep increase in diseases spread by mosquitoes worldwide.
Since its discovery in 2007 (mostly due to the recovery of lost research files, as well as analysis of mosquito behavior throughout the world, since morphological differences do not permit a definitive identification), scientists have been desperate to find a way to reverse, or at least stop, the spread of the nazi mosquito, and the dangerous consequences it has on its cousins. It is thanks to these efforts that John Whatitsworth, Phd at the Insect Institute of America (IIA) has discovered that, when confronted with a person raising its right hand and shouting “Sieg Heil!”, the nazi mosquito will turn away. The results are encouraging, if not conclusive, and dr. Whatitsworth hopes to conduct a mass study with several thousand participants to test his hypothesis in a statistically significant setting.

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