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'Mosquito tornado' filmed in Russia

Ben Domensino, Thursday July 22, 2021 - 14:45 EST

As if 2021 couldn't get any wilder, 'mosquito tornadoes' are apparently now a thing.

It sounds like the plot of a low-budget sci-fi movie. But the video below is real footage that was captured in far-eastern Russia, in the rural locality of Ust-Kamchatsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

What's going on in the video?

According to The Siberian Times, the tornado-like swarms of insects were clouds of male mosquitoes congregating around females in order to mate.

This suggests that they were congregating in large columns on their own, most likely to breed, rather than being forced together by moving air or wind. No tornado or mosquitornado in this case unfortunately.

There is also some doubt about whether or not the insects in the video were actually mosquitoes.

Weatherzone ran the video by Associate Professor Cameron Webb, an Australian mosquito researcher at the University of Sydney.

According to Dr Webb, "it is difficult to work out whether these are mosquitoes or other mosquito-like insects, such as midges".

Dr Webb wrote a brilliant blog about the possibility of mosquito or midge tornadoes several years ago. He called it a 'skeeternado' and showed a few other cool photos of tornado-like columns of insects.

He also points out that you can see swarms of mosquitoes and other flying insects in Australia, even in the wetlands around Sydney. But the swarms we see here don't rival those of the Northern Hemisphere.

Russia may not seem like an ideal location for mosquitoes. But the area of the northern hemisphere around the edges of the arctic circle is known for having explosions of insects during small windows of warm weather each year. This brief period of suitable weather sends the insects into a breeding frenzy, with their eggs then lying dormant through the colder time of the year.

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