- Common Name:
- Scientific Name:
- Group Name:
- Average Life Span:
- 2 weeks to 6 months
- 0.125 to 0.75 inches
- 0.000088 ounces
Only female mosquitoes actually "bite." They use their mouth, which looks like an upside-down funnel with the narrow end pointing down, to pierce their "victim" and sip liquid. This liquid could be either blood (human or animal) or plant juices, depending on the mosquito species. Male mosquitoes feed solely on plant juices.
Different species prefer the blood of particular animals. Some mosquitoes feed only on snakes, frogs, or other cold-blooded animals. Other mosquitoes prefer birds. Still others prefer cows, horses, and people.
Like most insects, mosquitoes have two compound eyes, each of which contains thousands of six-sided lenses that point in all different directions and move independently. Mosquitoes can’t focus their eyes like people. Instead, their eyes stay open to help them detect quick movements. The mosquito’s wings beat about 1,000 times per second and create the insect’s telltale buzzing sound. The female’s wings create a higher-pitched tone than the male’s, helping it attract potential mates.
Most female mosquitoes lay their eggs—up to 200 at a time, depending on the species—in water or near it, although not all species must hatch their eggs in water. Favorite places to lay eggs include any place that water pools, such as marshes and swamps, plus tree holes, discarded containers, and poorly maintained swimming pools. Transparent parts that cover the mosquito egg keep it from sinking. In warm weather, most eggs hatch within three days.