Mosquitoes are one of the most important insects studied by biologists. They are major disease carriers and are also a nuisance to humans. Mosquitoes have historically caused a great loss of human life. Mosquitoes can pick up a disease from one organism and transfer it to another. While not all mosquitoes carry deadly diseases such as the West Nile Virus, many people are allergic to mosquito saliva and will develop itchy red bumps. Children who experience this allergic reaction are tempted to scratch the bump, which can lead to broken skin and an infection.
Most common habitats
The time when mosquitoes are the most active is during the warmer months when there has been a lot of rain. Mosquitoes can be particularly bad both for areas that are nearby a major water body and areas that are prone to flooding. Other areas that have problems with mosquitoes are areas that have a lot of irrigation. Since mosquitoes rely on water in order to reproduce and only have a small window in which to do so, mosquito reproduction is very quick. An entire mosquito generation only takes 5 to 7 days.
Only female mosquitoes are responsible for biting. Male mosquitoes do not have mouths that can pierce skin and instead feed on the nectar of flowers. Females rely on the protein found in animal blood to create their eggs. Mosquitoes will lay their eggs on a variety of surfaces, after feeding on blood. However, the mosquitoes will not hatch until they are exposed to moisture and low levels of water. The eggs are capable of surviving for years.
The mosquito larva spend their time in the water feeding on aquatic organisms. They breathe through individual air tubes, but can remain in the water with their heads underwater. The larva stage lasts for 5 to 7 days before the mosquito turns into a pupa. They mostly remain still for 2 to 3 days, though they can move in self-defense. Afterward, they emerge as adults and can last for two weeks.
Most species of female mosquito feed on birds and mammals. However, some species will feed on reptiles. They mostly come out at night, spending the day amid humid vegetation.