What You Should Know About Types of Mosquitoes and Mosquito Lifespan
To get rid of mosquitoes in Jackson, MS, you need to know about the types of mosquitoes and mosquito lifespan. Read on to learn everything you need to know here.
If you were to be asked the top killer of humans throughout history what would your answer be? If you said mosquitoes then you’re right.
It is believed by some that nearly half of all the humans who ever existed died of diseases spread by mosquitoes. Others put this number much lower. These tiny killers can be found nearly everywhere in the world, except for Antarctica and a few similar regions.
Though medicine has caught up with mosquitoes in some parts of the world, this isn’t the case everywhere. Over 700,000 people are still killed by mosquitoes every year. To put that in perspective, human-on-human violence only kills about 400,000 each year.
To combat the massive issue caused by mosquitoes, it’s important to understand more about them. We’ll talk more about the different types of mosquitoes and mosquito lifespan in this article.
Like all insects, mosquitoes begin life as eggs. However, mosquitoes differ from many other insects in where they lay those eggs. All mosquitoes lay eggs on or near the surface of a body of water.
Though mosquitoes can be found in almost every part of the world, they likely originated in South Africa during the Cretaceous period. At that time, the Earth was far hotter than it is now, and much of South Africa was lowland, and probably prone to flooding.
Modern mosquitoes haven’t changed much, still preferring hotter temperatures and laying eggs around water. Those eggs don’t take long to hatch, either. It usually only takes a few days.
After hatching, the mosquitoes enter the larval stage. During this time, they’re commonly known as wigglers, because they look like very ugly worms squirming through the water.
Mosquitoes can lay as many as 100 eggs at a time, and there’s a good reason for this. Do you know what eats mosquito larvae? The answer is almost everything, including other mosquito larvae.
A few species in particular are known to eat the larva of other mosquitoes. Despite being huge as adults and having the scariest name ever, elephant mosquitoes prey a lot on other mosquito larvae when they’re still larva themselves.
This is great news for anybody who wants to practice eco-friendly pest control. Among the other creatures that eat mosquito larvae are creatures known as gambusia, or mosquito fish.
These things are like the fish equivalent of Rambo. Any time they see a group of mosquito larvae, they will eat until there is nothing left. They live about a year-and-a-half and will eat mosquito larvae throughout.
Other fish also eat mosquito larvae when they’re younger, such as bluegill and catfish, but grow out of it when they’re older. There’s also ducks, geese, and other aquatic birds as well as a few frogs and tadpoles.
If a mosquito larva manages to survive this tiny house of horrors for a week, they will reach the next stage of life.
Next, the mosquitoes form cocoons and begin developing into adult mosquitoes. During this time, they can swim but mostly stay on the surface of the water. They may dive temporarily to escape threats.
Much like the previous larva stage, pupae also face threats from predators. They also need to go above the waterline to breathe air.
This can work to their disadvantage if people want to get rid of them. You can put oil or other viscous liquid on the surface of the water, and it will float to the top. This cuts the mosquito pupae off from the surface so they can’t breathe.
This pupa stage lasts less than a week, after which they evolve into the flying things that have been making us miserable for millennia.
Mosquitoes usually look for mates as soon as they grow up. This is where the important distinction between males and females comes in, and no this isn’t ‘the talk.’
Male and female mosquitoes function very differently in adulthood. The males become adults, mate with a female, go off and eat nectar for a few days, and then die.
Female mosquitoes, on the other hand, mate and then go off to find blood. Male mosquitoes get all their nutrients from nectar, but the female needs blood. Since she’s carrying babies, she needs a lot of it.
A female mosquito can live for a month or more, and they can lay up to three sets of eggs. That’s a lot of mosquitoes being born every year.
Types of Mosquitoes
When talking about the various types of mosquitoes and mosquito lifespan, we must make a few distinctions. While there are a lot of mosquitoes that feed on human blood, it’s not all species that do so.
Most species of mosquitoes are parasites, but they’re not always human parasites. Mosquitoes usually bite humans because they can’t find anything better to bite.
Unfortunately, mosquitoes can’t travel more than a few miles. Those with the biggest range can go about seven miles.
This means you may end up with a large number of mosquitoes in a not-so-large-area with very little food. The result is that mosquitoes take what they can get and end up biting humans.
Some types of mosquitoes don’t even drink blood. Remember the elephant mosquito we mentioned earlier? Both males and females eat nectar as adults because they’ve evolved to reproduce without the need for blood.
Better news still is that even among the mosquitoes that do bite humans, most species don’t carry disease. Only three genera of mosquitoes do.
One of these three genera is Culex. Culex can be found all over the world, and they’re one of the most dangerous groups out there.
One area where they’ve become somewhat infamous is in the northern hemisphere. If you’re in the northern United States and get bitten by a mosquito, there’s a good chance it was from the Culex genus.
They’re so common that they’ve been dubbed ‘the house mosquito.’ However, a part of this is most likely because it’s more comfortable indoors than other types of mosquitoes would be.
One interesting fact about mosquitoes is that if you get a disease from a mosquito, you may be able to tell which type of mosquito you got it from. Culex mosquitoes, for instance, are common transmitters of West Nile, Japanese encephalitis, and St. Louis encephalitis among a few other illnesses.
If you’re like most of us and would prefer not to get bitten by disease-ridden mosquitoes, there are a few things you might want to try.
Anopheles mosquitoes can be found in most parts of the world. They’re infamous for causing malaria, which causes over 400,000 deaths per year.
The good news is that modern medicine has virtually eliminated malaria from most developed countries. However, it still runs rampant in many impoverished countries, especially those in Africa, where 90% of malaria’s fatalities occur.
One of the next major steps in politics and medicine will be figuring out how to get necessary supplies to areas that are still affected by malaria.
Finally, we have Aedes, another group of mosquitoes that can be found across the globe. They also carry their own array of nasty diseases. Some of the conditions you can contract from Aedes mosquitoes are yellow fever, dengue, and Zika.
Much like malaria, none of these diseases can be cured. However, modern medications and diagnostics have mostly prevented them from becoming serious.
What’s upsetting about the Aedes genus of mosquitoes is that it contains Aedes aegypti–the yellow fever mosquito. What’s so scary about the yellow fever mosquito, aside from the disease it’s been named after?
Unlike other mosquitoes, the yellow fever mosquito doesn’t ‘settle’ for humans. We’re its preferred prey. This is what makes them one of the most dangerous species out there.
The other dangerous species in this genus is known as the Asian tiger mosquito. The tiger mosquito was named after the stripes that adorn its body, though it thankfully doesn’t live up to that reputation compared to its cousin.
While the yellow fever mosquitoes attack mostly humans, the Asian tiger mosquito will attack anything in the area. Humans just happen to be among the creatures that are in the area.
Types of Mosquitoes and Mosquito Lifespan
When talking about types of mosquitoes and mosquito lifespan there are a few things to keep in mind. We’ve mentioned some of them in this article, but there’s almost certainly more out there. Feel free to do more research on your own if you wish.
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