Thursday, September 1, 2011

Today's Trivia – Mosquitoes

This week’s useless but interesting information is all about pesky mosquitoes. They’re certainly not the most beloved creatures, but I am curious enough to want to learn a little something about them. You know...just in case I end up on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” and the question worth a million dollars is about mosquitoes and I lose that opportunity, which would be a major bummer, because I didn’t take the time to learn anything about them. You just never know. You know?

Let’s get started...

- A female mosquito drinks about 5-millionths of a liter per serving.

- The average person receives about 3 mosquito bites before taking action (ex: going indoors, putting on a repellant, etc).

- A mosquito can fly an estimated 1 to 1.5 miles per hour.

- Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors so choose light-colored clothing when you are outdoors.

- It would take about 1,200,000 mosquito bites to completely drain the average human of blood.

- The most effective protection against insects that bite is a repellent containing DEET.

- Forget about bug zappers! Scientific studies show that bug zappers actually attract more mosquitoes into your backyard. In fact, many beneficial insects are killed. Bug zappers may provide some psychological relief and gratification, but they'll also run up your electric bill without controlling your mosquito problem.

- Only the female mosquito bites. She requires the protein in blood to produce her eggs.

- The female will mate only once in her lifetime, however she can lay many broods of eggs before she dies.

- Males will mate many times before they die, and they usually don't live as long as females do.

- Depending on the species, mosquitoes can live several weeks to a month or more in some cases.

- Mosquitoes are not active on windy or cool days.

- Mosquitoes live year-round in Florida. Some species over-winter (hibernate) while others continue to thrive and breed given appropriate conditions.

- The itching you feel after a mosquito bites is your body’s reaction to the anticoagulant injected with the mosquito’s saliva as she drills for blood.

- Although mosquitoes can carry and spread many dangerous diseases, they cannot transmit AIDS.

- Certain species of mosquitoes are only active during the daytime, and in most cases, daytime feeders are a great deal more aggressive than evening/night feeders.

- Most species prefer to feed on animals and birds rather than humans. If their food supply is slim, however, they are not opposed to dining on you and me.

- Mosquitoes cannot fly very high; somewhere between 25 and 40 feet off the ground.

- Most mosquito species can only fly about 300 feet before they need to rest.

- Mosquitoes from salt marshes can fly up to 40 miles for their next meal.

- When a mosquito flies, it flaps its wings between 400 and 700 times per second.

- On average, female mosquitoes drink from 0.001 to 0.1 millimeters of blood per feeding.

- Scientists believe that mosquitoes originated in South Africa and eventually spread to the rest of the world.

- Ancient mosquitoes were up to three times larger than today’s mosquitoes.

- The word mosquito is from the Spanish or Portuguese word for 'little fly'.

- Some cultures associate mosquitoes with reincarnations of dead people.

- Mosquito repellant lotion and mosquito spray can certainly keep mosquitoes from biting you, but you must be sure to reapply often if you are outside in a highly populated mosquito area.

- A mosquito has two eyes that make up the majority of its head. Each eye is filled with little lenses so it can see from multiple directions at once – thus making it almost impossible to swat that dreaded mosquito. (Oh, I don’t know about that. I smack my fair share...)

- A mosquito has six legs.

- Mosquitoes were around in the Jurassic era when dinosaurs ran free and they are still just as strong today. (Hanging out with the cockroaches...)

- Mosquito zappers may be popular, but they very rarely capture mosquitoes.

- Both male and female mosquitoes eat flower nectar for nourishment.

Female mosquitoes bite humans and animals so they can receive protein. This protein helps them lay eggs; they do not require blood for their own survival.

- A female mosquito has a ridged proboscis to pierce human and animal skin. Because of the serrated edges of her proboscis, her bite usually goes undetected until the itchiness sets in. (Sometimes you feel the bite...)

- A male mosquito has a proboscis, but it does not have ragged edges for biting.

- Male mosquitoes are slightly smaller than females.

- The three main parts of a mosquito are its head, its abdomen, and its thorax.

- A mosquito's abdomen has distinct markings that make it possible to tell which species it is.

- Mosquitoes are common insects in the family Culicidae (from the Latin culex meaning ‘midge’ or ‘gnat’).

- Mosquitoes go through four stages in their life-cycle: egg, larva, pupa, and adult or imago.

- Adult females lay their eggs in standing water, which can be a salt-marsh, a lake, a puddle, a natural reservoir on a plant, or an artificial water container such as a plastic bucket.

- Mosquitoes can develop from egg to adult in as little as five days but usually take 40 – 42 days in tropical conditions.

- The adult mosquito emerges from the pupa as it floats at the water surface.

- Adult mosquitoes usually mate within a few days after emerging from the pupal stage.

- In most species, the males form large swarms, usually around dusk, and the females fly into the swarms to mate.

- Adults live for 4–8 weeks.

- There are about 3,500 species of mosquitoes found throughout the world.

- Female mosquitoes that feed on humans are vectors for a number of infectious diseases affecting millions of people per year, without catching the diseases themselves.

- Mosquitoes are estimated to transmit disease to more than 700 million people annually in Africa, South America, Central America, Mexico, Russia and much of Asia with millions of resulting deaths. At least 2 million people annually die of these diseases.

- Some scientists believe that eradicating mosquitos would not have serious consequences for any ecosystems. (Happy news...)

- Females can live longer than a month in captivity, but most do not live longer than 1–2 weeks in nature.

- Most mosquito species are crepuscular (dawn or dusk) feeders. During the heat of the day most mosquitoes rest in a cool place and wait for the evenings.

- Female mosquitoes hunt their blood host by detecting carbon dioxide (CO2) and 1-octen-3-ol from a distance.

- While many species are native to tropical and subtropical regions, some such as Aedes have successfully adapted to cooler regions. In the warm and humid tropical regions, they are active the entire year long; however, in temperate regions they hibernate over winter.

- The dragonfly nymph eats mosquitoes at all stages of development and is quite effective in controlling populations. (More reasons to love dragonflies...)

- Although bats and Purple Martins can be prodigious consumers of insects, many of which are pests, less than 1% of their diet typically consists of mosquitoes. Neither bats nor Purple Martins are known to control or even significantly reduce mosquito populations.

- Mosquitoes prefer some people over others. The preferential victim's sweat simply smells better than others because of the proportions of the carbon dioxide, octenol and other compounds that make up body odor. (AHA! I knew it!)

- A large part of the mosquito’s keen sense of smell is devoted to sniffing out human targets. Of 72 types of odour receptors on its antennae, at least 27 are tuned to detect chemicals found in perspiration.

- The oldest known mosquito with an anatomy similar to modern species was found in 79-million-year-old Canadian amber from the Cretaceous. An older sister species with more primitive features was found in amber that is 90 to 100 million years old.


  1. I can remember some of the wetter seasons in Indiana when you walk outside and you have 20 mosquitoes on you in an instant. But I think the worst of all is when you are lying in bed and you can hear one next to your ear flying around... can never see it... can never kill it... but it keeps coming back until you give up pull the covers over your head.

  2. Yeah, they can be annoying when they're flying around like that. Then you wake up in the morning full of mosquito bites.