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Mosquito insect information & pictures

Mosquito insect information & picturesEveryone knows a Mosquito, or thinks that he does. The proboscis of the female is fitted for sucking but the male's mouthparts are so rudimentary that he cannot "bite." His antennae are very plumose.

The larvae are aquatic. They are the "wrigglers" such as most of us have seen in standing water. Owing to the medical interest in mosquitoes they have been extensively studied. The following, among other, subfamilies (or families) have been recognized.

1. - Proboscis, even of females, short, not fitted for piercing. Wings hairy, scaled only at margin. Mesosternum without ridge. Sternopleura divided by transverse suture. - Corethrinae. The transparent, predacious larvae use their antennae in capturing prey. They get their oxygen by absorption from the water. The eyes of these Phantom Larvae are dark. The two other pairs of dark spots are "air sacs." I do not know how the air, if it be real air, gets into them. The pupae float upright and have respiratory trumpets on their heads. Proboscis much longer than head; the female's fitted for piercing. Wings fully scaled. Mesosternum ridged.

2. - Palpi of female at least a third longer than the proboscis. Abdomen sometimes without scales. Scutellum crescent-shaped, with marginal bristles evenly distributed. - Anophelinae. Not so.

3. - Scutellum evenly rounded. Clypeus much broader than long. Calypteres not ciliated. - Day-flying, not-biting Megarhininae. Scutellum trilobed, with marginal bristles only on the lobes.

4. - Base of hind coxae in line with upper margin of lateral metasternal sclerite, a small triangular piece between bases of middle and hind coxae. Day-fliers. Sabethinae. The larvae of Wyeomyia smithii live in the water in pitcher plant leaves. Not so. - Chiefly Culicinae (anal vein extending well beyond fork of cubitus) but also Uranotaeniinae.

The eggs of Anopheles are laid singly, each having a lateral "float." The larvae are rarely found in foul or brackish water. - Unlike Culicinae, the breathing siphon on the end of the abdomen is very short and a resting larva floats horizontally. Adults usually have spotted wings. They are to be feared because they may be carrying malarial "germs" which they sucked in along with the blood of a former victim. If so and if the malarial organism had worked its way from the mosquito's stomach to its salivary glands, the mosquito biting us is likely to infect us with malaria.

The many species of Culicinae have been divided into genera on technical characters. - Most of what we called Culex are now Aedes. The Tropical A. aegypti (also called Stegosmyia fasciata) carries yellow fever and dengue. Such Tropical diseases as dengue and filariasis are carried also by other Culicine females.

The eggs of Culex are laid in a floating, raft-like. mass; those of Aedes singly. The salt-marsh mosquitoes with banded legs are Aedes. The larva of Taeniorhynchus (=Mansonia) perturbans sticks its breathing siphon into the air-chambers of aquatic plants instead of coming to the surface to breathe.

The pupae of mosquitoes are humpbacked wrigglers or, rather, "flappers," that breathe by means of a pair of trumpet-shaped tubes on their backs. They can move but usually do not do so unless disturbed. A film of oil on water kills such larvae and pupae as come to the surface for air. Of course, draining all breeding places would exterminate mosquitoes but I hope that this will never be completely done because it would exterminate many other things as well. Nature's balance, involving chiefly fish and dragonfly larvae, does fairly well in most cases, particularly if man is not careless with tin cans, tubs and the like. To be sure, extreme cases require extreme measures, particularly in the case of a disease-bearing species.

Read more on Mosquitoes at: Mosquito Pictures

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