Mosquitoes (alternate spelling mosquitos) are a group of about 3,500 species of small insects that are flies (order Diptera). Here are 10 interesting facts about mosquitoes you need to know!
1. Only female mosquitoes bite
This may surprise you and most people probably assume all mosquitoes bite, but no it is only the females that like to use us as a tasty snack. Female mosquitoes bite to feed on your blood. The protein and other compounds provide mosquitoes with a feast that is essential to help them produce and develop their eggs.
2. Mosquitoes are the world’s deadliest animals
When someone mentions the term “world’s deadliest animal” you probably start thinking of sharks, tigers, crocodiles and other fierce creatures. Well, it may shock you to learn that it’s actually mosquitoes. Why? Well, it’s down to the harmful diseases that they are known to spread.
Mosquitoes are known as ‘vectors” for several harmful diseases such as Malaria, Zika and Dengue. It is believed that as a result of this, mosquitoes are responsible for around 1 million deaths per year!
3. Mosquitoes would be terrible in the Olympics
This isn’t just a reference to 2016’s worries about the summer Olympics and the threat of Zika, This is a reference to if mosquitoes entered the Olympics with all the other insects.
In comparison to other insects, such as flies and wasps, mosquitoes aren’t the strongest of fliers and are quite slow. It is estimated that these biting insects can only fly at speeds between 1 and 1.5 mph so you can’t expect them to be breaking Usain Bolt’s 100m world record anytime soon!
4. Mosquitoes are big fans of Dirty Dancing
This may not be 100% accurate as we haven’t asked any mosquitoes what their favorite film is, but like Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in the hit film from the 80s mosquitoes have their own unique dance.
It has been discovered that before mating mosquitoes engaged in a sort of dance which involves beating their wings in a call-and-response type of manner. Amazing right?!
5. Mosquitoes love CO2
To be honest they have a bit of an addiction to it. Carbon dioxide is one of the main ways in which mosquitoes locate their next feast. They use a special organ called a maxillary palp to follow the smell of CO2 released from our breath.
6. There are a lot of mosquitoes
According to the American Mosquito Control Association, there are over 3,000 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world.
7. Mosquitoes are greedy
We all know mosquitoes like to enjoy a couple of human blood cocktails, but did you know they can drink more blood than students can drink alcohol during freshman week? studies have revealed that mosquitoes are able to drink 3 times their own body weight in blood. Now that’s a lot!
8. Mosquitoes don’t live long
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about one mosquito becoming the bane of your existence causing itchy bites for eternity. Why? Well, these biting insects have a very short life span. It is estimated that mosquitoes live less than 2 months!
9. Mosquitoes are really old
Mosquitoes are as old as the Dinosaurs, with evidence of these biting insects dating back to the Triassic Period! If you’ve seen the film Jurassic Park, this comes as no surprise as you’ll recall they used the blood found in fossilized mosquitoes to clone the infamous creatures to fill the park.
10. Mosquitoes don’t only bite humans
So after reading fact 6, you might be a bit scared due to the number of mosquitoes out there, but don’t worry, as not every mosquito craves human blood. Some species prefer to consume their Friday night cocktails from other animals such as frogs and birds.
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Wikipedia. 2019. Mosquito. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquito (17 October 2019)
Alaspa, Bryan. 2017. 10 interesting facts about mosquitoes https://www.westernexterminator.com/blog/10-interesting-facts-mosquitoes/ (17 October 2019)