Mosquitoes: One of the Deadliest Animals On Earth

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Mosquitoes: One of the Deadliest Animals On Earth
By Alex

When you think of the deadliest animal on Earth, what do you think of? Sharks? Crocodiles? Well, mosquitoes are actually deadlier than both of those animals by a large amount. Mosquitoes kill about 750,000 people per year. They cause more deaths than humans cause every year. A mosquito is a fly with a needle like mouth called a proboscis that sucks and feeds off of the blood of a host or another animal. The mosquito has six needles to suck blood with. They feed on the blood of many different species of animals. They can feed off of vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. They also feed off of other arthropods. Some predators of mosquitoes are western mosquitofish, dragonflies, bats, and many different types of birds.
A mosquito goes through four stages of its life. It goes through the egg stage, larvae stage, pupa stage, and adult stage. Female mosquitoes live for 42-56 days, while male mosquitoes only live for 10 days. The reason for females living longer than males is because, well, male mosquitoes aren’t really needed in the world of mosquitoes. Females need more time to reproduce in order to pass on their genes to offspring. Male mosquitoes listen to female mosquitoes wings to see how many times they beat per second, and they listen for a certain amount of times the wings beat in order to find a mate. Once they mate, the male mosquito only has about 3 to 5 more days to live.
Do you remember the whole Zika virus scare a couple years ago? Well, that was caused by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes carry many diseases with them. Their saliva causes a very irritating rash, which you have probably gotten before. Malaria has killed over one million people per year and causes 300-600 people per year to suffer. The Zika virus can cause birth defects and spread in different ways. Yellow fever causes thousands of deaths. Chikungunya can cause fever and joint pain. There are a lot more diseases that mosquitoes carry, and they are all dangerous and or deadly.
The oldest mosquito (with the same anatomy of the modern species of mosquito) ever found was in 79 million year old amber from the Cretaceous period. An even earlier relative to the mosquito was found in Burmese amber that is 90 to 100 million years old. Mosquitoes have barely changed for over 46 million years.
There are some pretty interesting facts about mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are attracted to the chemicals in your breath and your sweat. There are over 2,500 varieties of mosquitoes. Their habitats vary from the Arctic climates to tropical rain forests. Mosquitoes have a chemical signal that warns them when they have sucked enough blood. If the signal does not work, they will explode from sucking too much blood. Male mosquitoes are actually vegetarians, and they feed on flower nectar. Female mosquitoes suck blood because they need protein to make eggs. There is actually a statue of a mosquito in Manitoba, Canada. A mosquito’s wings beat 300 to 600 times per second.


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