Mosquitoes and Diseases

Mosquitoes are insects belonging to the order Diptera, the True Flies. Like all True Flies, they have two wings, but unlike other flies, mosquito wings have scales. Female mosquitoes’ mouthparts form a long piercing-sucking proboscis. Males differ from females by having feathery antennae and mouthparts not suitable for piercing skin. A mosquito’s principal food is nectar or similar sugar source.

  • There are nearly 3,000 species of mosquitoes but only a few hundreds bite
  • Wings can beat up to 500 times a second
  • A mosquito is a slow insect- it flies at a speed of around 2 Km/h
  • Its average lifespan is under three months; males live for only 10 days or so
  • Mosquitoes can detect carbon dioxide released in human breath, smell sweat and perfume, and have heat sensors to home-in on targets

Most Mosquitoes fall under three genera:

1. Anopheles: Found all over the globe (except Antarctica), they transmit malaria, filariasis and encephalitic. Average life span is two weeks. Easy to identify because of their peculiar resting position their abdomens stick up in the air instead of being parallel to the surface.

2. Aedes: Found in tropical and sub-tropical regions, they are the carriers of dengu virus and encephalitis. On an average, their lifespan is two weeks and their eggs can lie dormant for nearly nine months. Favourite diet of these mosquitoes is human blood.

3. Culex : Commonly called the house mosquito with a lifespan of a fortnight o. They are weak fliers and are vectors for West Nile virus, filariasis and encephalitis. They like to attack birds rather than humans.