The word mosquito comes from a Spanish and Portuguese word that means 'little fly.' Mosquitoes can be found all over the world and are usually known for pesky bites causing a person to have an uncomfortable itch. However, mosquitoes are also known for spreading some of the worst diseases in the world including malaria, tallow fever, encephalitis, dengue, and most recently the Zika virus. Unfortunately, mosquitoes cause more deaths than any other animal in the world.
Female mosquitoes are the ones that actually bite a person by using their mouth like an upside-down funnel. They mainly bite humans and animals when they are not trying to produce eggs. Their mouth contains a narrow end pointing down piercing the victim as it sips liquid. This liquid is either human or animal blood or nectar inside plants. It depends on the species of the mosquito. Male mosquitoes mainly feed on the nectar of plants. When a female mosquito feeds on blood it can up its abdomen up to three times its regular body weight.
Mosquitoes also have a preference for people with O-type blood, high body heat, heavy breathers, and pregnant women. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to mosquitoes as related to the Zika virus. These specific people are most at risk because when humans release carbon dioxide, mosquitoes can sense it up to 100 feet away. This is also why mosquitoes are usually circling around a person's head.
There are some species that only prefer the blood of certain animals such as snakes, frogs, or other cold-blooded animals. There are others that only go after birds, and then several that just prefer cows, horses and people. There are more than 3,500 different species of mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes have the same body structure like most insects. They have two compound eyes each containing thousands of six-sided lenses pointing is all different directions. Each of the lenses move independently of the others so mosquitoes cannot focus their eyes like people. Their eyes stay open and help them detect quick movements, which is why it is difficult to swat a fly.
A mosquito's wings beat around 1,000 times every second and is responsible for the buzzing sound that can be heard when a fly is nearby. However, a female's wings create a higher-pitched tone which helps it attract possible mates.
Depending on the species, female mosquitoes lay up to about 200 eggs at a time. The eggs are laid in water or near water. There are some species though that do not hatch their eggs in water. The most popular places mosquitoes lay eggs include almost any place water can be found such as marshes, swamps, empty containers, unclean swimming pools, and tree holes. In warm weather the eggs hatch within about three days.
Male mosquitoes live for about a week and females can live from two weeks to about a month. Mosquitoes also go through the four lifecycle stages like other flies, which includes egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
Finally, some mosquitoes can fly continuously for as long as four hours, but they are actually one of the slowest flying insects at 1/2 to 1 mile per hour. Fish, dragonflies and other water insects are the predators of mosquitoes.
In summary, mosquitoes are pests and can be found all over the world, and are responsible for more deaths than any other animal.
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