Mosquitoes are dangerous and like any biting insect should be avoided. Mosquitoes found in Queensland can transmit a range of illnesses.
There are hundreds of species of mosquito but only 9 or so known types of mosquito in North Queensland that bite humans and can transmit vectors (diseases)
- Aedes aegypti
- Aedes alboannulatus
- Aedes bancroftianus
- Aedes purpureus
- Anopheles atratipes
- Anopheles meraukensis
- Anopheles novaguinensis
- Anopheles bancroftii
- Culex annulirostris
Mosquitoes are small fragile insects around 3-6mm long with log delicate legs. All mosquitoes have 6 legs and are fliers with wings covered in scales. Mosquitoes are easily identifiable however the different types of mosquitoes are not so quickly differentiated and extreme caution should be taken at all times in mosquito prone areas. The mosquito is equipped with long piercing and sucking mouthparts protected by a projecting proboscis (tubular mouthpart).
The mosquito will live on average for around 3 weeks (female), the male lifespan is much shorter. The female mosquito will have a blood meal prior to reproduction., she is attracted to the host through different stimulus, either by a combination or a single stimuli (carbon dioxide, air movement, heat detection, body odours) Once fed she will lay her eggs on the surface of water (the type of water is dependent on the species) or she will lay them in an area such as a floodplain that will have inundation or wetting.
The Aedes and Anopheles Genus lay their eggs singly while the Culex masses their eggs together in the form of a raft.
The larvae hatch in the water where they were laid and are often called ‘wrigglers’ due to their action in the water. The larvae feed continuously from the aquatic environment they are found in and undergo 4 moults, depending on the conditions and food source can take 7-14 days after which they pupate. The pupae are often called ‘tumblers’ and float underneath the surface. Most species have incredible breathing ‘trumpets’ that allow the developing mosquito to breathe in the cocoon underwater.
When the adult emerges from the pupal case and depending on the sex the life-cycle will begin again.
Mosquitoes vary greatly in their breeding, biting, feeding and flight habits but most mosquitoes will disperse around 1-2km from the original breeding site. Others tend to stay very close to the original site. There are some types of mosquitoes that will fly 50km from the original site! Most mosquitoes exploit human habitats and our habits assist mosquitoes to breed and thrive. Mosquitoes don’t need permanent water, they will lay their eggs in any source (as little as a teaspoon of water). Tyres, cans, pot plant holders, rubbish piles, gutters, holes, septic tanks, drains even specific types of plants that will hold a body of water are a prime location for mosquitoes to breed. Lakes, creek and pools along with dams and irrigation ditches are also prime breeding grounds.
The female and male mosquito will consume honeydew, nectar and other plant secretions but requires a blood meal to breed. She will feed on a variety of hosts depending on the species, but the above-mentioned varieties feed primarily on human blood.
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