'Consider the most common mosquito on Earth. This soft, little, dusty-brown insect is Culex Pipiens. You've seen her land on your arm. You have caught her just at the end of her feeding, her translucent belly swelling red with your very own blood. At such a moment, you can be forgiven for failing to notice what an elegant and hardy thing she is. But she is . . . '
No creature has touched directly the lives of more human beings than the mosquito. She has been a nuisance, a pollinator of plants and an angel of death all over the globe. And throughout history, much of our trouble with the mosquito has been caused by man himself. Professor Andrew Spielman has dedicated his life to understanding this insect. In Mosquito he tells the story of man's struggle to live with the mosquito, from the defeat of Sir Francis Drake's fleet, to the death of thousands of Frenchmen working on the Panama Canal and to the recent panic over the West Nile Virus in New York. And he shows us how we have accelerated the spread of disease, describing the catastrophic failures of mosquito control which have ensured that - even now - one person dies of malaria every twelve seconds.