Antarctica Is Under Attack From…Houseflies?
Temperatures around the globe have been rising steadily over the past several decades. Even Polar Regions are losing ice and gaining vegetation. This means that Antarctica is becoming a haven for insects, particularly the housefly. Researchers have noted a marked increase in the amount of fly larvae and plant life around the southern regions of Antarctica. Cargo ships often bring flies to the Antarctic coast, but normally they don’t survive. However, the warmer climate is allowing flies, and other insects, to survive Antarctica’s harsh climate. During the last three decades the average temperature around the coastal regions of Antarctica has increased by three degrees Celsius. Experts are concerned about how insects will impact Antarctica’s ecosystem.
According o Dominic Hodgson of the British Antarctic Survey, flies arrive in Antarctica regularly by ship, and these invasive flies carry pathogens that could be devastating to other life forms that are native to Antarctica. Surprisingly, Antarctica is already home to several different species of insect, and moss grows in many southern regions of the continent. Both native insects as well as indigenous forms of moss are currently under threat from non-native insects that arrive in Antarctica through tourism and global warming.
Many people don’t realize that the continent of Antarctica sees a high amount of tourism. During the years of 2015 and 2016, thirty eight thousand people visited Antarctica. These tourists would unknowingly bring with them insects from other regions around the world. Insect larvae can sometimes find their way into polar soil when tourists set their bags on the ground. Tourism has been a major threat to the conservation of the Antarctic ecosystem for some time now, but when this threat from tourism is coupled with rising global temperatures, the threat facing Antarctica’s natural environment becomes much more serious. Under these conditions, the ecosystem of Antarctica will certainly face some degree of environmental harm from invading houseflies.
How far north have you traveled? And did you see any spiders or insects in any extreme northern regions of the globe? If so, what type of insects did you spot?