Mosquito Life Cycle
Mosquitoes are members of the fly group (Order Diptera) and go through four distinct stages of development. All mosquitoes start their life as an egg. Some species of mosquitoes lay their eggs directly on the surface of the water and others lay their eggs in the moist soil around flood water sites. Eggs will hatch in water and larvae emerge. All larvae must go through four stages of growth, called instars, in the water, often known as wigglers. the next stage is the resting, non-feeding stage called pupa. In this stage, the mosquito becomes an adult.
Mosquito pupae always live in water. Female adult mosquitoes will mate and then leave to find a suitable host to suck blood.
She uses the blood to help develop her eggs and then she lays the eggs to start the cycle all over.
Mosquito "Bites" and Public Health
Mosquitoes can spread disease only when they bite their victim. Although it is commonly called a "bite," the process is actually a piercing-sucking action. Only the female mosquito bites, and takes a blood meal. The blood protein is needed to complete the mosquito's egg production cycle. During the feeding process, the female pierces her victims skin with her proboscis, (a long straw like structure with a sharp end) injects her saliva (which contains anti-coagulants) and then sucks the victim's bloods in through her proboscis. If the victim's blood contains disease-causing organisms, they too get sucked into the mosquitoes stomach. These organisms are then maintained within the mosquito and eventually may be injected into the next victim's bloodstream. In this way the mosquito can spread disease from animal to animal, animal to man, or even from person to person.
In the United States there are now about seven primary mosquito-borne viruses that are capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier in humans and other animals, causing an acute infection of the central nervous system. These include Western Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, and West Nile Virus which have been known to occur in Texas.
Mosquitoes are responsible for more human deaths than any other living creature. Worldwide, nearly 4 million people die each year from various mosquito-borne diseases. Read more about mosquitoes found in America and worldwide. (PDF)
- Mosquitoes are responsible for more human deaths than any other living creature. Worldwide, nearly 4 million people die each year from various mosquito-borne diseases. Read more about mosquitoes found in America and worldwide. (PDF)
- All mosquitoes must have water to complete their life cycle.
- Mosquitoes do not develop in grass or shrubbery, although, flying adults frequently rest in these areas during daylight hours.
- Only the female mosquito bites to obtain a blood meal. The male mosquito feeds only on plant juices.
- The female mosquito may live as long as three weeks during the summer or many months over the winter in order to lay her eggs the following spring.