Life Cycle of a Mosquito | Complete Overview | Learning Concepts
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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:

  1. Anopheles:
    • 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.
  2. Culex:
    • 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.
  3. Aedes:
    • 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:

  1. Egg:
    • 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.
  2. Larva:
    • 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.
  3. Pupa:
    • 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.
  4. Adult:
    • 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.

New Words

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.
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