There are over 3,000 species of mosquitoes that we know about. However, only three mosquito breeds are mostly responsible for carrying diseases affecting humans. These three mosquito breeds are public enemy number one. They are responsible for millions of deaths globally every year whose victims are mostly children and the elderly in developing countries.
The following are the mosquito and the disease they carry:
Anopheles mosquitoes – Malaria, Filariasis (also called elephantiasis) and encephalitis.
Culex mosquitoes – Encephalitis, Filariasis and West Nile virus.
Aedes mosquitoes – Yellow fever, Dengue, and Encephalitis.
How they suck
The only mosquito that is able to feed on animals (including humans) is the female. The male mosquito does not have the equipment for this task. When the female mosquito bites their victim with what is called their proboscis (sucking straws) they stab the two straws into the skin. One of the straws injects an enzyme that stops the blood from clotting. The other straw sucks the blood from the animal. The blood is a source of protein which feeds their eggs. For both male and female mosquito, plant sugars and nectar are eaten for their nourishment.
How they locate their victims
The carbon dioxide exhaled by animals
The look of high-contrast objects
Warmth of bitable bodies
Olfaction (smell system such as identifying animal body odors)
These triggers are combined in groups which help the mosquito zero in on their victim. In other words, the mosquito senses the carbon dioxide then has a strong attraction to visual features. Olfaction, vision and heat trigger another independent seeking module. The integration of all these underlying features helps the mosquito home in on their victim.
Transmission of Disease
Malaria – The mosquito’s gut transmits parasites which have attached themselves to the gut of the female mosquito and enters the host as she feeds on the animal.
Yellow fever and dengue – A virus enters the mosquito as it feeds on an infected human and is transmitted via the mosquito’s saliva to a subsequent victim.
Why we have mosquitoes
They are an abundant source of food for birds, dragonflies, bats, frogs and thousands of other animals. Normally mosquitoes zero in on horses, cattle and birds more than humans.
Breeding and population control
Mosquitoes need water to breed. Population-control and eradication usually involve removal or treatment of standing water sources. Insecticide spraying to kill adult mosquitoes is also widespread. The attempt on a global scale, to stop the spread of mosquitoes has had little effect and many scientists think global warming will likely increase their number and range due to larger standing bodies of water which are not freezing or freezing for long enough periods of time which is conducive to the success of the mosquitoes breeding along with a prolonged breeding season.