What do mosquitoes eat?

What do mosquitoes eat?

Mosquitoes are a diverse group of insects of the order Diptera that have a wide distribution throughout the world, except in Antarctica. Although several flying insects are called mosquitoes because they have some similarities, true mosquitoes, as these animals are also called, belong specifically to the Culicidae Family, Subfamilies Culicidae and Anophelinae.


Some types of mosquitoes are completely harmless, while others, on the contrary, can cause significant health problems in people and other animals. The way some feed themselves causes these complicated situations from a health point of view. Keep reading this Better-Pets.net article and find out what mosquitoes eat.

Harmless and dangerous mosquitoes

3,531 species of mosquitoes have been identified worldwide, some of them harmless, as they do not bite people or other animals and do not transmit any type of disease. Some examples are harmless mosquitoes: Culex vaticinates , Culex hortensis , Culex desert Y Culex Territanos.

On the other hand, there are several species of health importance, as they are vectors of various diseases that have caused serious health problems, which lead to high mortality rates. Some of these diseases are yellow fever, dengue, Zika, chikungunya, Mayaro virus, lymphatic filariasis (commonly known as elephantiasis), encephalitis, and malaria. They can also transmit various pathogenic viruses and, in some cases, the bites cause allergic reactions that affect people a lot. In addition, several species of mosquitoes also infect different animals such as birds, monkeys, monkeys, cows, among others.

Entre as perigoso espécies of vegetables, podemos cited Aedes albopictus , Culex Africa, Anopheles gambiae, Anopheles atroparvus , Culex modest Y insecticide .


Mosquito feeding

Regarding food, we can divide mosquitoes into two groups. The first formed by males and females, they feed on nectar, sap and directly on some fruits. In this sense, this group supplies their nutritional needs mainly with sugary compounds from plants.

The second group is characterized by the fact that males and females also feed on nectar, fruit and sap. But in addition, females of certain species are hematophagous, meaning they are able to bite people and certain animals and draw blood from them. Thus, females in this group have a more varied diet.

Within the Culicidae family, we find the genus Toxorhynchites, a group of mosquitoes that do not consume blood, but like other species, they supply their nutritional needs mainly from plant sources. However, in the larval stage, they feed on larvae of other mosquito species and even microorganisms that are in the water. In addition, many species at this stage feed on algae, detritus, protozoa and even small invertebrates.

Mosquitoes kept in laboratories for study purposes are usually fed sugary substances that are prepared or also fruit to extract their juices.



How do mosquitoes feed?

Mosquitoes metamorphose and as soon as the adult emerges, it starts a random flight in search of olfactory stimuli to tell you where you can feed. Very accurate reports have been made on how mosquitoes feed, let’s know some important facts [1].

In the case of hematophagous females, they are able to perceive chemical compounds emitted by a host’s body, such as CO2 or lactic acid. These insects have a high sensitivity to perceive these products so that females can distinguish between one food source and another to select the one that provides the best way to feed.

When a female is perched on the person or animal she is going to feed on, she is able to sense heart rate and body temperature. looking for sucking blood from an area with high irrigation, which undoubtedly optimizes the process.

Between males and females that feed on blood, there is a difference in the oral tract, as they develop a longer and more resistant proboscis, adapted to pierce the host’s skin. While the first ones do not require this structure, as they need one that allows them to suck instead of piercing.

When a woman lands on an individual, her saliva is secreted by sucking blood, a substance that contains anticoagulants. In this way, blood flows easily during eating, but at the same time, this substance is responsible for causing allergy and inflammation in the victim’s skin.


The blood-sucking feeding process by females is so complex that, even depending on the species, they have a predilection for certain types of individuals. So, those who prefer to feed on people are called anthropophilic. While those that make it from birds are known as ornithophiles. Those who prefer reptiles or amphibians are identified as batraciophilic and, in general, by other groups of animals, as zoophilic.

Why do mosquitoes consume blood?

Most female species in the Culicidae family consume blood, but as mentioned, some species do not. In the case of those that are characterized by being hematophagous, they do so because they require specific proteins for eggs to develop since it is not enough with the consumption of plant food sources. In this sense, for the development of eggs to occur after copulation with a male, the female needs to have consumed blood, a process that activates all its hormonal regulation and, in turn, allows the development of eggs for subsequent expulsion.

In this article, we’ve seen how fascinating the animal world is. We have seen individuals who measure a few millimetres and yet develop quite complex processes for their maintenance. Furthermore, many of these species can have a significant impact on people’s lives, which is unfortunately linked to serious health problems.



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