A Treat for the Mosquitoes
Concept: Life Cycle of a Mosquito
- Mosquitoes are famous for spreading some of the worst diseases, like malaria, yellow fever, encephalitis, and dengue.
- They are insects and they belong to Arthropoda.
- The members of Arthropoda are characterised by joint legs.
Physical features of a mosquito:
- Mosquitoes have sucking and piercing mouthparts.
- The body of the mosquito is slender and elongated. On reaching maturity, the body gets covered with scales.
- Veins can be seen in the wings.
- The antenna is more feathery in males as compared to females.
- The males survive only on plant juices, whereas the females require blood to meet the nutrient demands for laying eggs.
- The humming of mosquitoes is actually the high-frequency sound that is caused by the beating of their wings.
Species of mosquitoes:
- It is also known as the carrier of malaria.
- It can be recognised when it is in a resting position.
- Its proboscis, head, and abdomen lie in a straight line in the resting position.
- Female Anopheles lay eggs in water that is covered with algal growth and other vegetation.
- The life cycle of an Anopheles mosquito varies from 18 days to several weeks.
- It is the carrier of viral encephalitis.
- At the resting position, the body of this mosquito lies parallel to the resting surface, and the head is bent downward.
- The female’s abdomen is blunt.
- Female mosquitoes lay eggs in freshwater.
- The life cycle of this mosquito lasts up to 14 days.
- It is the carrier of the pathogens of yellow fever, dengue, and zika fever.
- Its body is parallel to the resting surface, with the proboscis bent downward.
- Females lay eggs generally in floodwater and rain pools.
- The life cycle of this mosquito lasts for around 10 days.
Life cycle of a mosquito:
A mosquito completes its life cycle in almost 2 weeks. However, the number of days differs in species and varies based on external factors like temperature and availability of food. The life cycle of a mosquito comprises the following stages:
- An adult female mosquito lays eggs near or on stagnant water.
- Female mosquitoes are attracted by the smell of even a tiny amount of water.
- Female mosquitoes generally lay around 100-300 eggs at a time. The number varies from species to species.
- Hatching of eggs requires a time of 2-3 days.
- The eggs are to be submerged underwater for the hatching of larvae.
- The larva of a mosquito is also called a wriggler.
- The eggs may not hatch in case the water dries off.
- Larva feeds on microorganisms in the water.
- The larval stage lasts from 3 to 14 days, depending on external conditions like light and temperature. The duration varies from species to species.
- Moulting occurs in the larva for its conversion to a pupa.
- The larva of a mosquito undergoes moulting thrice.
- They are also called tumblers.
- They stay in the water for around 1-4 days.
- It is a resting stage.
- They do respond to light and temperature changes.
- The mosquito develops into an adult during this stage and emerges out of the covering at maturity.
- Adult male and female mosquitoes emerge from the pupa on maturity.
- The male mosquitoes start feeding on plant juices and nectar.
- Female mosquitoes feed on human and animal blood to lay eggs. Blood is required to fulfil the nutrient requirements for laying eggs.
- Once the females lay eggs, the cycle repeats.
Moulting: The phenomenon of shedding old skin to move on to new growth.
Proboscis: An elongated and flexible sucking mouth part.
Arthropods: Invertebrates whose body is covered with an exoskeleton. Their body is mainly characterized by joint legs.
Did You Know?
- There are more than 3500 species of mosquitoes on Earth.
- Mosquitoes can hibernate like other animals.
- Mosquitoes can drink blood weighing approximately 3 times their body weight.
- Mosquitoes can smell carbon dioxide from 75 feet away, and for this reason, they can locate their host from a long distance.
- The redness that appears after a mosquito bite is due to the saliva it injects to stop blood coagulation.