Giant Mosquitoes May Strike Florida

'Gallinippers' are mean and bite hard, experts say

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 10, 2013 4:09 PM CDT

(Newser) – As if deadly sinkholes and Burmese pythons weren't enough, now Florida may find itself contending with another summer of giant mosquitoes that pack a ferocious bite, LiveScience reports. Dubbed gallinippers, the quarter-sized mosquitoes hatch after a flood or rainstorm, and saw a bumper crop after Tropical Storm Debby struck Florida last summer. Now another rainy season could produce even more: "I wouldn't be surprised, given the numbers we saw last year," says an entomologist.

A gallinipper is 20 times the size of a typical mosquito, "and it's mean, and it goes after people, and it bites, and it hurts," says Anthony Pelaez of Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry. A gallinipper bite "feels like you're being stabbed." What's more, they may be resistant to bug repellent (the Orlando Sentinel recommends a DEET-containing repellent all the same) and like to strike fish, wild animals, and pets. Neat factoid: Entomologists don't always recognize the term "gallinipper," which arose in Southern folk culture. But the insect's first mention dates back to 1897, when a writer called it "the shyest, slyest, meanest and most venomous of them all."

An adult gallinipper.   (YouTube)
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