WILDLIFE EFFECTIVELY ADAPTS AND EVOLVES TO LIVE ALONGSIDE HUMANS, EVEN IN CITIES


(Image credit: Quercus Publishing)

 

oDEER is the leader in all natural deer, mosquito, and tick control.

Having launched in 2007, we are now in our second decade in business.

We are based in Wayland, MA.  Through our corporate office, and our nine franchisee locations, we service and cover a breadth of geography that takes in the following areas:

  • Central Massachusetts and all points eastward across the state, including Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
  • The East End of Long Island, NY
  • Central New Jersey

Fundamental to our business and its success is our appreciation for, and staying in tune with, nature and the outdoors untamed.

Indeed, ohDEER co-founder and co-owner Kurt Upham is the quintessential outdoorsman.

We are sensitive to changes in climate, weather, the natural and manmade environment, and the conduct and development … and even evolution … of all creatures, especially deer and mosquitoes and ticks.

Nature responds to human activity – and humans respond to natural activity.

We are living with the consequences of the development of what was once deep woods and forests, and which was once the habitat of deer and coyotes and foxes and bears.  Building and removal of this habitat has chased these animals, and others, to take up residence in woods and fields that are on the cusp, and sometimes amid, human civilization.

More and more, ohDEER is hired to apply our proprietary solutions and applications to ward off deer in places that even 10 years ago it would have been a totally curious event to see a doe, buck, or fawn.

Is there anything good about more types of animals becoming our neighbors?

Or is the condition of new species of neighbors not necessarily good or bad – but just the way things are going to be?

We at ohDEER understand an inclination to look at the migration of animals from the untouched and primeval to spaces busy with human activity as … well … unnatural …. and not how things should be – and to consider that surely cities are not habitable and hospitable for fauna not native to confusion and density of buildings, traffic, swarms of pedestrians, loud sounds, and pollution.

Well, there is a book released earlier this month which is receiving tremendous attention and strong positive reviews, which modifies this impulse and steers and informs a different perspective.

The book is Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution (Picador), written by Menno Schilthuizen, the renowned evolutionary biologist, “urban ecologist,” and research scientist.

In Darwin Comes to Town, Menno Schilthuizen presents and explains that cities and metropolitan areas support their own ecosystems in which animals can thrive, often through remarkable and dramatic adaptation achieved over short periods.

Consider this excerpt of marketing messages that the publisher put out to market the book:

“Carrion crows in the Japanese city of Sendai have learned to use passing traffic to crack nuts.

“*Lizards in Puerto Rico are evolving feet that better grip surfaces like concrete.

“*Europe’s urban blackbirds sing at a higher pitch than their rural cousins, to be heard over the din of traffic.”

We are intrigued.  We read previews of the book online.

We are going to read the entire Darwin Comes to Town book.

Among the topics that grabbed our attention, as it would have to, is in the first chapter of Darwin Comes to Town, the discussion of mosquitoes – specifically the Culex molestus mosquito, also known as the London Underground Mosquito.   This mosquito lives in the London subway, commonly called “The Tube.”

Now, get this, in the 1990s, University of London geneticist Katharine Byrne analyzed mosquitoes from three different tube lines in the London subway.  Byrne’s research revealed that the mosquitoes living in one tube line were genetically different from those living in the other lines.

And, no surprise, the London Underground Mosquito is genetically different from the mosquito that lives above ground in London.

Menno Schilthuizen explains that genetic difference (taken from the online preview of the book):

“Up on London’s streets, the mosquitoes feed on bird, not human, blood. They need a blood meal before they can lay their eggs, they mate in large swarms, and they hibernate.  Down in the tube, the mosquitoes suck commuters’ blood and lay eggs before feeding; they don’t form mating swarms but seek their sexual pleasures in confined spaces, and are active the whole year round.

“Since Byrne’s work, it has become clear that the Underground mosquito is not unique to London.  It lives in cellars, basements and subways all over the world, and has adapted its ways to human-sculpted environment.  Thanks to mosquitoes that get trapped in cars and planes, its genes spread from city to city, but at the same time it also cross-breeds with local above-ground mosquitoes absorbing genes from that source as well.  And it has also become clear that all this has happened very, very recently – probably only since humans began constructing underground buildings, did Culex molestus evolve.”

When you are in the business of ohDEER, all of this is fascinating.

And, you know, ohDEER has actually been out front in discussing and highlighting how wildlife adapt to living alongside humans, and how animals use the human-made … specifically refuse … to make life healthier and more livable.

For example, please click here to be taken to a post published in this space on June 30, 2017 that discusses how finches line their nests with cigarette butts, employing the anti-parasitic properties of nicotine to keep the nests free of a primary foe of ohDEER: ticks. (Yeah, we know, nicotine isn’t so healthy, either – but it’s a tradeoff the finches live with in order to prevent ticks from eating their fur and syphoning their blood.)

ohDEER will continue to follow and remain apprised of animal adaptation and evolution – with a particular focus on deer, mosquitoes, and ticks – in the wilderness, the rural, the suburbs, and the city.

And, no doubt, this curiosity and interest will help us in our continuous quest to better keep residential yards and other properties free of those deer, those mosquitoes, and those tick

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