According to the Icelandic Web of Science, Iceland is home to 1,600 species of dryland animals. Despite this diversity, there is one species missing – the mosquito! Yes, Iceland is one of the few countries in the world that is mosquito-free.
Is Iceland completely mosquito-free?
Well, we’re not actually 100% mosquito-free: One mosquito made history in the 1980’s when University of Iceland Professor Gísli Már Gíslason found the insect on board an Icelandair plane and captured it for safekeeping. Today, this unlucky mosquito is kept in a jar at the Icelandic Institute of National History.
Why no mosquitoes in Iceland?
The answer lies with our rugged climate. In nearby Greenland and Northern Scandinavia, the mosquito lives happily, as these countries have more stable weather and continuous, predictable winters. In Iceland, however, we can experience four seasons throughout one winter’s day, with the temperature rising and falling very rapidly. The poor mosquito can’t keep up. It will wake up thinking it’s spring, but then will be frozen to death when the cold returns a few hours later.
It's not like Icelanders miss mosquitoes
Though we feel terrible for the poor mosquitos, it can be quite nice to experience nature without worrying about being bitten by those little suckers! Luckily for us humans, we have clothes and vehicles to protect us from Iceland’s unpredictable weather so that we can enjoy the sites in safety and comfort.
But take note: if you do happen to stumble upon a mosquito while traveling in Iceland, please hand it over in a jar to Professor Gísli. His lonely mosquito could use a friend!