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The Natural Environment

Insects and Parasites

The tropical climates of large portions of Asia are particularly favorable to the development of insects and of parasites with long, complex life cycles. Tropical walkingsticks can exceed 30 cm (12 in) in length. Malarial organisms and the mosquitoes that carry them are favored by the absence of cold winters and, in rainy tropical areas, by the abundance of precipitation. The deadliest of the malarial organisms, Plasmodium falciparum, can survive year round in tropical areas. Filariae, small parasitic roundworms, are common in India and much of Southeast Asia; the parasite can cause elephantiasis, a disease that produces grotesque swellings. Great swarms of locusts are a periodic menace to farming in various areas of the Asian continent, particularly in Southwest Asia.

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