Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Culicidae (Mosquitoes)

I have always lumped mosquitoes together as one group, not even thinking that there were over 3,600 species in this family. Our common name of “mosquito” comes from the Spanish language and means “little fly.”

Some mosquitoes are day fliers while some are night fliers. Their feeding times are determined by temperature and humidity and once they have gorged themselves, like us humans, they want to rest. Most will rest among the vegetation but you’ll find some on tree trunks, either way they seek out shady spots.

Hard to imagine that mosquitoes don’t actually siphon out our blood but rather they have knifelike  mandibles that move back and forth, like a reciprocating saw, cutting the skin. Once through the skin, their saliva is injecting, which keeps the blood from clotting. Then they dine through a straw-like mouthpart. It is generally the mated female that “bites” as they need the protein for egg development.

The larvae of mosquitoes are called “wrigglers” and the pupae are called “tumblers.” They breathe at the water surface, which is why standing, stagnant water attracts mosquitoes. When the pupae are disturbed they “tumble” to the bottom.

About anything you’d want to know about mosquitoes can be found at the Mosquito Taxonomic Inventory website

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