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The ubiquitous Mosquito is both a valuable food source and a colossal human nuisance in rainy and wet areas around the world.
One could say that most humans loathe Mosquitoes on a personal level. They bite, leaving itchy red spots that can take days or weeks to resolve. They buzz about faces and heads, flying close to ear canals. Swarms loiter above and around doorways. They are carriers of serious and lethal diseases for humans and other animals. For all that there is to dislike about a Mosquito, there is one major reason to appreciate having them around: food. Mosquitoes are abundant, especially in humid regions and tropical areas. This makes them a readily available meal for reptiles, amphibians, birds, bats, crustaceans, fish, and loads of other insects.
The Mosquito is a type of fly. An adult Mosquito has long legs, a long narrow abdomen, and a proboscis. Its wings are short and transparent. It looks clumsy in flight, but can be difficult to catch in the air. Females are the biters; males only drink nectar. Females need the protein found in blood to make eggs, so while they also drink nectar, hemoglobin is still necessary for reproduction. Mosquito saliva contains chemicals that slow the clotting of blood. A female can quickly fill a special stomach with blood if the host has high blood pressure, which helps pump blood out faster once the mouth parts have pierced skin.
Females lay fertilized eggs in still water or at the edge of it. Water sources can include a quiet pond, a puddle of water in a tire, or an uncovered rain barrel. Once eggs hatch, larvae feed on algae and bacteria. As pupae, they float just under the surface of the water, often in groups. Adults can live from 5 to 14 days in nature.
In the process on taking blood, the mosquito can passively transmit viruses and other disease-causing agents into the host's bloodstream. Malaria, dengue and yellow fever, Zika and West Nile virus, tularemia, and elephantiasis are diseases spread by Mosquito bites. Because these diseases are a threat to public health and safety, population control and management strategies exist in many parts of the world. Chemical spraying, larvicide tablets for ponds and lagoons, and campaigns to eliminate standing water from residential and corporate properties all aim to reduce population sizes. Personal measures like applying a repellent and using outdoor candles and products with citronella helps reduce bites.
Scientific Name: Culex spp.
Fly or Mosquito
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 13mm (0.23in to 0.51in)
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