The only endangered species in Antarctica, the southernmost continent on ice, has been declared extinct. This is a phenomenon that could make a huge difference to Antarctica’s food chain and thus to its biosphere. The pest’s name is Tiny Antarctic Midge. It is an insect about the size of a pea, unable to fly. The pest has been shown to have the ability to cope and survive the harsh conditions of Antarctica with a long lifespan. But climate change is causing problems around the world.
Jack Devlin, a scientist at the University of Kentucky in the US, says the summer heat is causing the Midge crisis. It takes about 2 years for the pest to complete its life cycle. During this time most of the life of the insect is in the larval stage. Scientists say that even a two-degree rise in temperature from the current situation could seriously affect the survival of the midge. In this condition they are not able to ingest or digest food effectively. This will affect their subsequent development and reproduction. Scientists believe that warmer temperatures in the future could lead to their extinction.
This pest can grow up to one centimeter in length and can withstand temperatures down to -15 degrees. They can also tolerate the loss of up to 70% of their body fluids. They also have the ability to live without oxygen for up to a month. Named Belgica Antarctica, the pest was discovered in the 19th century. Although there are penguins and seals in Antarctica, they all depend on the ocean for food and life. These midges can be called the largest carnivores in Antarctica. They feed on microorganisms and other organisms.
English Summary: Antarctica’s only native insect is being driven to extinction by global warming