Mosquitoes are slender shaped long-legged parasitic flies with aquatic larvae. It belongs to the Culicidae family and member of about 3500 species of small flies of the Culicidae family.
Mosquitoes have a segmented body with three pairs of long legs, one pair of wings, and a single elongated mouth. They belong to the phylum Arthropoda with the class Insecta.
Life cycle and Different Types of Mosquitoes
There is a total of four complete stages of the life cycle of a mosquito. Its life cycle consists of eggs, larva, pupae, and adult stages. Female mosquitoes, also known as ectoparasites, lay eggs on the water surface and form aquatic larvae. The larvae of mosquitoes are voracious. They feed on algae and other organic materials present in the water.
However, these larvae can become a source of fresh food for other water animals like fishes, ducks, frogs, etc.
Most adult female mosquitoes have a tube-like mouthpart known as proboscis that can get used to pierce the human or host skin and feed on their blood. Female mosquitoes rely on host blood that helps them to get enough proteins and iron for producing the eggs. When a female mosquito bites its host, its saliva gets transferred to the host’s skin that causes irritations, allergies, and rashes.
Mosquitoes can transmit dangerous diseases to their host like malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and other arboviruses. Every year, almost 700,000 people die from getting infected with such diseases through mosquito bites.
There are male mosquitoes that only feed on plant juices like nectar and absorbs enough sugar for survival. Male mosquitoes don’t feed on the host as females do. Neither they cant bite nor transmit diseases.
The Life Cycle of the Mosquito
Now, let’s talk more about the life cycle of the mosquito. Mosquitoes need stable and stagnant water to pursue their lifecycle.
As mentioned above, the life cycle of mosquitoes incorporates four stages.
Depending upon the type of female mosquitoes, they lay their eggs on the water surface, either individually or in attached groups. The group of female mosquitoes is also known as rafts. The eggs get laid directly on the surface, along its edges, and in the tree holes.
Most of the mosquitoes’ eggs get hatched after 2-3 days when the female mosquito laid its eggs. The hatching process also depends upon the temperature of the water and the surrounding. If mosquitoes happen to hatch its eggs out of the water, it will remain alive until it gets hatched. Their eggs can be very tiny, about 1/4 inch long and 1/8 inch wide.
2. Larval Stage or Larvae
Once the eggs of mosquitoes get hatched, it’s the beginning of the larval stage. These larvae usually hang suspended from the water surface for breathing the air. Its air tube, known as a siphon, extends from the larva’s posterior part and acts as a snorkel. Larvae feed on to some microorganisms present in the water.
However, they feed on algae. For defense, these larvae can swim deep down, creating an “S” shaped movement. The length of the larval stage of mosquitoes ranges from 4 to 14 days. However, the larval stage depends upon the species of mosquitoes, the temperature of the environment, and food availability.
3. Pupal Stage
The pupal stage of mosquitoes doesn’t require a feeding process. However, the pupae still need fresh air for breathing purposes, so they remain on the surface of the water. Pupae are sensitive to light, shadows, and other disturbances near their surroundings. Even in the pupal stage, they are active and can tumble around to escape the deep water. This stage lasts for about 1 to 4 days. The pupa’s skin splits along, allowing the newly developed adult to emerge and rest on the surface of the water.
The pupal stage is similar to the metamorphosis stage seen in butterflies developing from its cocoon stage. According to the facts, the Culex species mosquito in the southern United States takes about two days to emerge out of the pupal stage during summer.
The newly emerged adult mosquito remains on the surface of the water for some time. Gradually, it allows itself to dry and hardens the body part. The wings of the developed mosquito start to dry out and get spread. However, newly developed mosquitoes don’t involve in mating and blood-feeding for few days.
Culex tarsalis, found in the USA, might go through its life cycle for 14 days, maintaining 70 degrees Celsius.
The length of the life cycle of mosquitoes depends upon the species of the mosquito. Different species undergo different life cycle days. Let us discuss more few common types or species of mosquitoes.
Common Types of Mosquitoes
1. Culex Mosquito
Culex mosquitoes are also known as common house mosquitoes. It is one of the diverse genera of the mosquito family. They usually bite at night time both indoor and outdoor. They prefer avian hosts but also bites human beings. Their distribution is in all parts of the United States. They lay eggs in rafts in still water, artificial containers, even in polluted and freshwater.
2. Aedes Mosquito
Aedes mosquito is slightly different from other types of mosquitoes. They are active during day time and bites during day time. They are also known as day biters.
Their host preference is human beings. They are highly infectious. They can spread diseases like dengue, chikungunya, zika, and yellow fever. They lay eggs around or near the temporary water surfaces like pools, roof tanks, used tires, flower pots, etc.
3. Anopheles Mosquito
Anopheles mosquitoes are also popular ones. They are usually active at both dusk and dawn. They prefer both humans and mammals as their hosts. They are the transmitter of the disease known as “Malaria.” They lay eggs with floats on the surface of the water in ponds, marshes, and swamps.
Hence, these are some common types of mosquitoes that we encounter in our daily lives. However, there are altogether more than 3000 species of mosquitoes all around the world. Their unique characteristics and potential to transmit disease has a different identity.