Elevated atmospheric CO2 promoted speciation in mosquitoes (Diptera, Culicidae)

Chufei Tang, Katie Davis, Cyrille Delmer, Ding Yang, Matthew Wills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (SciVal)


Mosquitoes are of great medical significance as vectors of deadly diseases. Despite this, little is known about their evolutionary history or how their present day diversity has been shaped. Within a phylogenetic framework, here we show a strong correlation between climate change and mosquito speciation rates: the first time to our knowledge such an effect has been demonstrated for insects. Information theory reveals that although climate change is correlated with mosquito evolution there are other important factors at play. We identify one such driver to be the rise of mammals, which are predominant hosts of Culicidae. Regardless of the precise mechanism, we demonstrate a strong historical association. This finding, taken in combination with projected rises in atmospheric CO 2 from anthropogenic activity, has important implications for culicid vector distributions and abundance, and consequently for human health.

Original languageEnglish
Article number182
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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