Facts and Information About Mosquitos
Mosquitoes got you running for cover? Here, some counter-intelligence about your summertime enemy.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Swat. Zzzzzzzzz. Swat again. Zzzzzzzzzz. Oh, jeez! Missed again. Now what? Mosquitoes (or “little flies” in Spanish) may be small and usually fairly harmless (at least in this country), but, nevertheless, these 5-mm pests are obnoxious and annoying. And their bites? They’ll keep you scratching for hours. Their large eyes and long antennae can detect even the slightest movement, making mosquitoes particularly adept at finding that one exposed patch of skin. Mosquitoes are especially attracted to carbon dioxide, which humans disperse through sweat. And it’s that piercing mouthpiece of the female mosquito that really does the damage. Female mosquitoes require protein found in blood for their eggs to develop. Everyone hates ’em, but there are things you still may find interesting about summer’s most unwelcome guests. And you thought your in-laws were bloodsuckers!
1/ Abdomen—A mosquito’s stomach and lungs are contained inside, as are openings for taking in air and eggs in the female.
2/ Antennae—These can detect carbon dioxide from human breath and sweat several hundred feet away, while a sensor located between the antennae can detect human sweat up to 100 feet away. Their preferred victims, however, are birds and mammals. Only female mosquitoes need blood, but they’ll also snack on plants and flowers.
3/ Compound eyes—These can spot even the slightest movements.
4/ Legs—Each of a mosquito’s six legs has tiny claws on the end to help traction.
5/ Ocelli—These additional eyes gauge variations in light and bright colors.
6/ Proboscis—This toothless mouthpiece is used to pierce skin and extract blood. With a shot from one tube in the mouthpiece of a mild painkiller and anti-clotting agents in its saliva (our allergy to the saliva is what actually makes the bite itch), a second tube draws the blood and deposits it into the mosquito’s abdomen.
7/ Wings—Mosquitoes can fly up to 1.5 miles per hour. Most live and die within a mile radius from where they were hatched.