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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Congrats, England: It turns out the London Underground really does have its own special type of mosquito

An escaped specimen buzzes outside a Conservative Party Conference in 2015.
An escaped specimen buzzes outside a Conservative Party Conference in 2015.
Photo: Christopher Furlong (Getty Images)

As the United Kingdom turns away from the rest of Europe, its massively short-sighted nationalists need to continue mustering any point of pride that they can dig up. We’re happy today to present them with a new factoid to add to their bragging rights. As it turns out, the London Underground is home to its very own subterranean version of the blood-sucking, disease-spreading mosquito.

The charmingly named Culex molestus is the subject of a video by YouTube channel Half As Interesting that digs into the urban legend that the English capital’s subway system is home to a distinct type of mosquito. Over the Underground’s history—and especially during the Second World War, when many Londoners sheltered from bombing raids in its tunnels—people have believed that a special, and especially annoying, breed of mosquito lived beneath the city.


In the 1990s, the video tell us, scientists looked into these claims and found that the Underground is indeed home to Culex molestus, which is a type of mosquito now commonly known as the London Underground mosquito despite it being found below ground in regions across the world. Half As Interesting explains the most popular theory as to how the insects habituated to subterranean living and evolved into a variant that’s perfectly happy getting most of its food from rats and commuters rather than birds in the great outdoors. The clip also touches on the ongoing scientific debate over just how unique the London Underground mosquito really is, though that’s a topic that’s apparently still too contentious to easily sum up in a short YouTube video.

Regardless of whether they’re an entirely unique species or not, we’re just happy that the United Kingdom can now proudly boast that its citizens support not just one group of intractable, predatory blood-suckers but also a special breed of mosquitoes, too.

[via Digg]

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.