|Photo Credit: Alvesgaspar|
The mosquito is probably one of the most unpopular creatures in the world. For centuries people have swatted at or poisoned it, but it continues to flourish, feasting on the blood of humans and animals. With global warming, some species that are disease carriers may even spread.
The mosquito is a small, two-winged fly, a slender relative of the house fly and blow fly. It has four wings arranged in two pairs and, like most flies, uses its short, club-shaped hind wings for balance. Known as halteres, these wings vibrate with the front wings and sense changes in direction, helping the mosquito fly in a straight line.
The male mosquito drinks nectar, only the female drinks blood, which provides nourishment for her eggs. She usually seeks out a victim just before laying, although she can lay her eggs without feeding on blood.
Did you know?
- Roughly half the world's population is at risk from the diseases carried by some mosquito species.
- The female's wings beat 500 times per second. The male's vibrate even faster and whine at a higher pitch. When a male emerges from the pupa, his wings beat at the same rate as a female's, confusing other males.
- Mosquitoes lay eggs in unlikely places such as birdbaths. Most die if a pool dries up, but the eggs of some desert species survive years of drought.