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Sunday, 10 July 2016

Mosquito

HISTORY

The word ‘mosquito’ comes from the Spanish for ‘little fly’.

The Greek name for the Mosquito is Anopheles, translating to "good-for-nothing".

A female mosquito of the Culicidae family (Culiseta longiareolata). 

The first reference to a mosquito in English came in 1572 when it was described as “A certeine gnat or flie … which biteth both men and women in their sleepe.”

SPECIES 

Mosquitoes are members of a family of nematocerid flies: the Culicidae

There are about 3500 known species of mosquitos. They are found from pole to pole and are most prevalent in warmer climates.

FEEDING ON HUMANS 

While male mosquitoes typically feed on nectar and plant juices, the female needs to obtain nutrients from a "blood meal" before she can produce eggs. In some of the species of mosquito, the females feed on humans, and are therefore vectors for a number of infectious diseases.

A female mosquito will usually rest on all six legs for at least a minute or so before starting to bite. The insertion of her lancets into a juicy capillary usually takes about another minute.

Female Ochlerotatus notoscriptus feeding on a human arm, Tasmania, Australia

Most people never feel the bite nor the presence of the insect but rather what is left behind. The mosquito injects its saliva (the source of many transmitted diseases), which acts as an anticoagulant as well as an anesthetic.

Shortly after the bite the anesthetic effect wears off and in most people an itchy, allergic reaction follows.

A mosquito can drink up to three times its weight in blood.

It would take 1,200,000 mosquitoes, each sucking once, to completely drain all the blood from a human body.

Mosquito repellents don't repel. They hide us from them The spray blocks the mosquito's sensors so they don't know you're there.

Mosquitoes are particularly attracted to people that have recently eaten bananas.

ANATOMY 

Mosquitoes have mouthparts that are adapted for piercing the skin of plants and animals.

Only female mosquitoes have the mouth parts needed to suck blood from other animals.


Mosquito wings beat about 300-600 times a second, which is what makes their buzzing sound.

Mosquitoes fly at speeds between 1 and 1.5 miles per hour, making them one of the slowest flying insects of all.

Mosquitoes can fly through rain drops without getting hit.

Unlike the wings of flies, mosquito wings are covered by fine scales.

BEHAVIOR 

Mosquitoes are attracted to the color blue twice as much as to any other color.

Some species of mosquito have been found to change the speed of their wing flaps in order to harmonize with potential mates.

Mosquitos can mate in about 15 seconds.

They use the blood not for their own food but as a source of protein for their eggs.

After gorging on a feast of blood the mosquito flies off and lays her eggs in water.


Most mosquitoes rest or sleep in a dark, sheltered place during the daylight hours, preferably an area that is relatively humid, such as tucked inside vegetation like plants and grass.

Male mosquitoes live for only about ten days; most females live six to eight weeks.

Some females hibernate and can live up to six months.

DISEASE 

Sir Ronald Ross was dissecting the stomach tissue of a mosquito that had been fed four days previously on a malarious patient. On August 20, 1897, he found the malaria parasite and went on to prove the role of female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans.

Being a doctor rather than a zoologist, Ross did not name the species that carried malaria but said it was “grey moquito with dappled wings”.

Ronald Ross By Unknown - Wikipedia Commons

Ross' discovery earned him the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1902, the first Briton to win a Nobel.

August 20th is World Mosquito Day, commemorating the day in 1897 when Sir Ronald Ross confirmed the Anopheles mosquito as the vector that carries malaria.

According to the World Health Organisation, mosquito bites kill over a million people every year.

Having an O blood type makes you twice as likely to attract mosquitoes than people with A blood type. B blood types fall in the middle of the spectrum.

Sources Daily Express, Encarta Encyclopedia

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