Rapid evolution of mosquitoes in London Underground system


Culex pipiens molestus

This research presents a wonderful example of evolution by natural selection, of a mosquito which became trapped in London’s underground system. Culex pipiens is a common, mostly harmless mosquito, some of whom became isolated underground to form a population called Culex pipiens molestus -presumably because they molested the underground workers and tube travellers. It was considered a type mosquito until recent investigations demonstrated genetic differences from the above-ground mosquito. This speciation has happened very rapidly and therefore gives a supreme example of natural selection at work in a measurable period of time.


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