Selfish but impressive little bloodsucker – the mosquito

Selfish but impressive little bloodsucker – the mosquito

Female mosquitoes bite before laying around 200 eggs.

Living in a country where there is almost no rain we were all excited about the rain we recently had. Kids were running around with umbrellas, happily jumping into puddles. But now, around two weeks later, they are there! The mosquitoes!

mosquito cartoonOh don’t we all hate them, the little bloodsucking monsters keeping us up all night with the squeaky hum of their buzzing wings. They annoy us and ruin our BBQs before leaving us with an even more annoying itching bite.

Mosquitoes are actually quite impressive, but they use their impressiveness only for themselves. Out of a human point of view, of course, they are not useful for anything. Even subject of discussion, scientists, who usually state that every species has its place in an ecosystem, suggest that complete eradication of mosquitoes would not have any serious ecological consequences, like it was shown in one of Nature Magazine’s famous publication and in a science today publication.

Kill them anyway!

 

If you get a mosquito bite, blame the female! Only the adult females bite because they do need the blood to develop their eggs, around 200 of them. Yes, 200 new annoying little bloodsuckers to be! That’s why it is worth killing a mosquito even after being bitten.

Carbon dioxide is the key

Female mosquitoes are attracted to CO2, Carbon dioxide. They react a little to other perspiration chemicals and movement, but CO2 is the key signal to mosquitoes for a potential blood meal. That’s how they find us – and our heads – at night.

live cycle mosquitoAnd after the lady mosquito has enjoyed her blood meal and has developed her 200 eggs, she lays them in some kind of stagnant water where it takes days to weeks to go from eggs into larvae, into pupa and finally into an adult mosquito.

The stagnant water can be a puddle, a pond, a water filled container, a street hole which filled up after rain, or even sewage water. There are different species of mosquitoes with different habits but they all require water to breed.

Preventing mosquitoes

That’s why not leaving any holes and openings for water to collect in is considered part of preventing mosquitos, next to using repellent and mosquito nets, insecticides, mosquito traps and natural methods like using BTi-proteins , and some interesting attempts by scientists to sterilize mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are attracted to CO2

After all, mosquitos are known to cause millions of deaths worldwide every year due to transmitting malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever and other diseases. However, there are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes and not all species transmit all diseases. Anopheles mosquitoes are the only species known to transmit the horrible malaria.

I remember, the first time I had to take malaria prophylaxis I had the worst nightmares ever. I actually had no idea it was possible to dream that way. Nightmares are known side effects of malaria prophylaxis. So if the prophylaxis could do that to me and really don’t want to experience what real malaria is like.

A friend

There is however one type of mosquito which does not drink blood. This type is called Toxorhynchites. They actually eat the larvae of other mosquito species. Wow! Well done! So on a positive note at the end, I think these ones could actually become our friends.