PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Using Mosquitoes to Find Pythons in the Everglades

lawrence_reeves.jpg
www.lawrencereeves.com
/
Lawrence Reeves

A University of Florida researcher has found three species of mosquitoes feeding on Burmese pythons in the Florida Everglades. Lawrence Reeves, a post-doctoral researcher at the UF/IFAS Florida Medical Entomology Lab in Vero Beach, says he and his team have recovered python DNA from the blood meals of those mosquitoes, and that it may be possible to detect the presence of the snakes using the technique. We'll learn more about his research and plans going forward.

In the future, Reeves says researchers plan to study if mosquitoes pick up diseases from Burmese python and pass them on to other animals or humans. Researchers have recently learned that Burmese pythons can become infected with the chikungunya virus and spread it to mosquitoes. Reeves’ study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Rachel Iacovone is a reporter and associate producer of Gulf Coast Live for WGCU News. Rachel came to WGCU as an intern in 2016, during the presidential race. She went on to cover Florida Gulf Coast University students at President Donald Trump's inauguration on Capitol Hill and Southwest Floridians in attendance at the following day's Women's March on Washington.Rachel was first contacted by WGCU when she was managing editor of FGCU's student-run media group, Eagle News. She helped take Eagle News from a weekly newspaper to a daily online publication with TV and radio branches within two years, winning the 2016 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Award for Best Use of Multimedia in a cross-platform series she led for National Coming Out Day. She also won the Mark of Excellence Award for Feature Writing for her five-month coverage of an FGCU student's transition from male to female.As a WGCU reporter, she produced the first radio story in WGCU's Curious Gulf Coast project, which answered the question: Does SWFL Have More Cases of Pediatric Cancer?Rachel graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.