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151

mosquitoes

OLogy Series
animal
card
151

mosquitoes

OLogy Series
animal

You might think that all mosquitoes are alike, but did you know that there are actually about 2,500 different kinds? All mosquitoes develop in four stages. When mosquitoes bite, they suck blood. They can also carry diseases such as malaria, and pass them on to humans. But most mosquitoes are perfectly harmless. They will just give you itchy bites.

How Did the Asian Tiger Mosquito Get from Asia to New Jersey?
Insects can sometimes travel great distances without having to fly. The Asian tiger mosquito, as its name suggests, comes from Asia and has a striped body. In 1995, these mosquitoes were discovered in New Jersey. How did these insects make it halfway around the world? Could they have flown thousands of miles all the way from Asia to the United States? Scientists suspect that the Asian tiger mosquito traveled to the U.S. in used tires. People have accidentally introduced mosquitoes to many different places around the world. Sometimes truck tires from Asia are imported into America. What were these mosquitoes doing inside used tires? This type of mosquito is a "container breeder." It deposits its eggs in small containers, such as flowerpots or old tires. When the containers fill with rainwater, the eggs hatch and develop into adults.

Some mosquitoes lay groups of eggs on the surface of water called:

rafts

clusters

nurseries

Are you right?

Correct!

Female Culex mosquitoes lay 200-300 eggs in groups called rafts. Why are they called rafts? Because rather than sinking, these groups of eggs float on the surface like rafts.

The word mosquito comes from the Spanish word "musketas," which means:

friend of the flowers

little fly

fighting musketeer

Are you right?

Correct!

The Spanish called mosquitoes "musketas," which means "little fly." While flies and mosquitoes may have some similarities like having six legs, they are very different insects.

Only female mosquitoes bite animals to suck their blood.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Only female mosquitoes need to suck blood. Blood helps the eggs develop. Male mosquitoes prefer flower nectar.

Some mosquito species that live in the Arctic can take more than a year to complete their life cycle.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Most mosquitoes go through their life cycle in two weeks. But Arctic mosquitoes take a year to reach adulthood. They even hibernate twice.

Order: Diptera
Size: 1/8 to 5/8 of an inch long
Range: many different habitats throughout the world
Diet: females drink blood; males drink flower nectar
Characteristics: two wings; tubular, long, piercing mouthpart for sucking blood, nectar, and other plant juices

Image credits: courtesy of Agricultural Research Service.