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lionstar - Animated Animals/Nature
junglebook.peperonity.net

A REAL PREDATOR

THE MOSQUITO

Q-WHATS A MOSQUITO?
A-Mosquito: Designed by God to make us think better of flies.

Besides inventing Morse code, Samuel Morse was also an accomplished artist. After painting a picture of a man suffering the agonies of death, he showed it to a friend who happened to be a doctor. "What's your opinion?" Morse asked. "Malaria," replied the doctoR
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Half of all human deaths could be traced to mosquitoes because of the two devastating diseases they carry: malaria and yellow fever.

Malaria alone has caused more deaths than all wars put together. The word malaria means "bad air", which was thought to be the source of the disease

SOME FACTS
A power station built in Canada malfunctioned over and over until engineers investigated and found that the equipment was being jammed by thousands of male mosquitoes who were attracted to the whining sound of the machinery which perfectly imitated the sound of a female mosquito

Mosquitoes will travel up to six miles to feed, a fact discovered by scientists in the Netherlands who placed pig pens - with the pigs being mosquito bait - farther and farther away from the nearest mosquito habitat in order to see how far they would go. Six miles is a long way for a bug whose top speed is 3mph.

A female mosquito can detect a human being from a distance of 40 yards even in complete darkness. Mosquitoes are better able to sense their prey in humid environments. The sensing receptors on the end of their antennae don’t work as well in dry air.

In the summer of 2003, South Korea’s biggest mobile phone company, SK Telecom, began offering customers a special ringtone that repels mosquitoes. For a small extra charge, subscribers can download a sound wave inaudible to human ears but annoying to mosquitoes.

A mosquito has very sensitive sensors on the ends of her antennae which help her home in on sources of heat, humidity, and carbon dioxide. Most repellents work by confusing her sense of smell causing disorientation, making the insect believe that she is flying towards a colder, dryer, carbon-dioxide free environment. Citronella repels mosquitoes because it irritates the sensors on their feet.

If a pond or puddle dries up, the mosquito eggs can lay dormant for five years or more until it fills up again, allowing the eggs to continue their development. Eggs are also able to stay viable throughout the winter and hatch in the spring.

About 40 percent of the native population of Papua New Guinea enjoy a genetic mutation that makes them resistant or immune to malaria.

People of the Lomelina Valley in Italy sponsor an annual Mosquito Killing Championship. Contestants are invited to capture and kill as many mosquitoes as they can with their bare hands in a five minute period. The contest is organized by the local Anti-Mosquito League.

Questions
1. What’s the average time between the mosquito bite and the itch?
2. What’s the maximum possible life span of a mosquito?
3. What state has the greatest number of mosquito species in the U.S.?

Answers
1. The average time between the bite and the itch is three minutes.
2. A really lucky mosquito can live four to five months before dying of old age.
3. Florida has 77 different kinds of mosquito.

Approximately ten trillion mosquitoes invade the U.S. every summer. That's about 41,000 mosquitoes per person. At certain places in the Canadian Arctic, huge swarms of mosquitoes can bite an unprotected human up to 9,000 times per minute. A person in this situation could lose half their blood volume in two hours. Mosquitoes even draw blood from freshly dead animals. Scientists estimate there are around 2500 different species of mosquito, although only 130 live in North America. Of those, only two kinds regularly snack on a human beings-- and it is only the females who bite[SOMEWHAT SAME WITH HUMANS].

Pregnant female mosquitoes need a meal of blood to get protein they need to lay their eggs. The female mates only once, storing sperm in her body to be dispensed as it is needed for the rest of her life. If you look closely at a female mosquito, you will see only one thin needle-like proboscis. However, there are four different tools inside this sheath. Two of them act like electric carving knives, with serrated edges that slice up and down to drill a hole in the donor’s skin. One acts like a hose, injecting saliva which thins the blood, prevents it from clotting, and makes it easier to suck. The fourth tool acts as a straw or syringe, drawing the blood from the capillary into the mosquito’s body. In 90 seconds of sucking, she can take in more than her weight in blood, supplying enough protein to enable her to lay several hundred eggs. After she’s done laying her eggs, she immediately begins to look for another blood meal so she can lay more. If she escapes predators and other disasters, she can lay eggs some 20 times before dying. Fortunately, only about one out of every 200 female mosquitoes lives long enough to reproduce like that

A REAL EVENT
A touring troupe appearing in India during monsoon season was amazed that the audience started clapping as soon as the curtains opened and continued to clap during the entire performance. When they asked the theater manager about this, he replied that it was not applause they were hearing — it was dozens of people swatting at mosquitoes.

A common house mosquito (Culex sp.) stabs the skin with her sharp snout and saws in with her four knife tools to draw blood. She shoots in saliva laced with anesthetic (to escape notice) and an anticoagulant (to keep blood flowing). Then she sucks blood.

In 90 seconds, she sucks enough blood to nourish 100 eggs or more — and is too heavy to fly. She makes a controlled descent to a close safe spot where she squeezes in on her abdomen. Water oozes out of the blood, filtered through the abdominal wall, and forms a large drop. Light again, she takes off.

During her short adult life (two weeks to a month) she bites one to three times

Life cycle
Mosquitoes begin life as eggs laid on water. Eggs are the overwintering stage of most Minnesota species. They hatch in early spring. The young insect, the larva, is long and wormlike. To breathe, some larvae poke a tube, called a siphon, above the water surface like a snorkel. One species pokes its siphon into a soft plant stem, which provides oxygen and shelter.

Next comes the pupa stage, also in water. The comma-shaped pupa swims on the surface and sinks when disturbed.

Emerging from the pupa stage as adults, mosquitoes mate. Males go off to feed on plant nectar. Although females also get nutrition from plant nectar or sap, they need a meal of blood to help develop their fertile eggs. Different species choose different sources of blood: Amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals all donate to the cause.

When does it bite?
Usually starting in May, females go out at dusk to find a blood meal. Mosquitoes detect heat we give off and carbon dioxide we exhale and quickly fly in for a bite.

Early summer is the most active feeding time, but new generations of mosquitoes keep emerging and feeding until frost. One species, the house mosquito (Culex pipiens) overwinters as an adult in buildings, in woodpiles, or behind tree bark. We might encounter this critter in winter if it warms up and becomes active.

How does it bite?
The female’s proboscis has six piercing parts. Four with serrated edges (like a bread knife) cut through the skin to the blood vessels. A fifth part injects saliva, which contains an anesthetic to kill pain and an anticoagulant to keep the blood from clotting and closing the wound. A sixth part is a trough-like tube that pumps the blood into her empty gut. A full meal can double her weight, and often she cannot fly after eating.

A single meal can nourish 100 eggs or more. During a typical adult lifetime of two weeks to one month (adults of some species live six months or more), a mosquito bites one to three times.


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