Mosquito Bytes


1. Mosquito alert
2. Whining in your ear
3. Malaria
4. Illnesses expand (Dengue)
5. Death to mosquitoes
6. Climate change=more disease?
7. Advice for the weary (repellent pictured)
8.Stop already! (Q & A)


Trivial facts about a non-trivial insect

Q and A Q: How many species of mosquitoes are there?
A: About 2,700.

Q: And how many are resistant to at least one insecticide?
A: More than 50.

Q: What does a mosquito weigh?
A: About 2 to 2.5 milligrams (for an Aedes aegypti).

Q: How much blood does a female mosquito drink per, er, serving?
A: About 5-millionths of a liter (for an Aedes aegypti).

Q: What happens if you cut the sensory nerve in the mosquito's stomach?
A: The little whiner can keep sucking blood until it bursts (oh, sweet justice!).

Q: How do mosquitoes find new hosts?
A: By sight (they observe movement); by detecting infra-red radiation emitted by warm bodies; and by chemical signals (mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide and lactic acid, among other chemicals).

Q: How fast can a mosquito fly?
A: An estimated 1 to 1.5 miles per hour.

Q: How far do certain mosquitoes fly
A: Salt marsh mosquitoes migrate 75 to 100 miles.

Q: How far away can a mosquito smell you, or a cow or another host?
A: 20 to 35 meters.

Q: Don't you love being called a "host"?
A: Not in this context.

Q: Why does a film of oil on water kill mosquito larvae?
A: Because the oil clogs up the snorkel that the larvae use to breathe.

Photo by Antoine Morin Jon Houseman, � BIODIDAC.

Q: What does mosquito saliva have to do with some kinds of rat poison?
A: They both contain anti-coagulants, chemicals that prevent the blood from clotting.

Q: When do mosquitoes feed?
A: Day-time. Night-time. And all times in-between. Truthfully, some species prefer different times of day or night. This behavior may have evolved to match the host's behavior.

Q: Do they ever stop sucking blood?
A: Yes. For starters, males never suck blood. And females don't do it more often than necessary, since it exposes them to (slap, slap) host "defensive behaviors."

Q: So what's the advantage of letting a mosquito drink its fill?
A: Because if you brush it away too soon, it might come back for more.

At least, that's the opinion of Marc Klowden (see "Blood, Sex, and the Mosquito" in the bibliography).



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