Ed Golson Outdoor Education

mosquito

Scientific Names: Many different species- most are so similar that they are grouped together here. Common species include Aedes triseriatus , Aedes vexans, Ochlerotatus stimulans, and Ochlerotatus excrucians.  56 different species of mosquitoes have been identified in Michigan. 

Order: Diptera 

Description: Unfortunately, we are all probably very familiar with mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are true flies because they have one pair of wings and undergo four distinct stages in their life cycle (egg, larva, pupa and adult). Mosquitoes also have a specialized mouth called a proboscis they use during feeding. Female mosquitoes actually insert their saliva into the skin to prevent blood clotting before they take the blood.  This saliva substance is what makes the skin bump up and itch. Adult female mosquitoes have a life span of several weeks to several months.  Male mosquitoes live only a few weeks and die right after they mate.  Mosquitoes can spread diseases such as human and equine encephalitis (West Nile Virus).  Repellents containing Deet can be effective in repelling mosquitoes.

Habitat: Tires, birdbaths, flower pots, abandoned pools, etc. can all be breeding areas where the female can lay eggs if they are holding water.  

Food: Adult mosquitoes usually feed on plant nectar. In fact, that's all the males eat. She needs the protein from blood to develop her eggs.  Female mosquitoes feed on the blood of mammals like humans, and also on birds, amphibians, and reptiles.

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