Mosquitoes are small, midge-like flies which compose the family Culicidae. Females of most species are ectoparasites, whose tube-like mouthparts (called a proboscis) pierce the hosts’ skin to consume blood. The word “mosquito” (formed by mosca and diminutive ito) is Spanish for “little fly”. Thousands of species feed on the blood of various kinds of hosts, mainly vertebrates, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even some kinds of fish. Some mosquitoes also attack invertebrates, mainly arthropods. Though the loss of blood is seldom of any importance to the victim, the saliva of the mosquito often causes an irritating rash that is a serious nuisance. Much more serious though, are the roles of many species of mosquitoes as vectors of diseases. In passing from host to host, some transmit extremely harmful infections such as malaria, yellow fever, west nile virus, dengue fever, filariasis, and other arboviruses, rendering it the deadliest animal in the world.
Asian Tiger Mosquitoes
The Asian tiger mosquito is an exotic species that gets its “tiger” name from the single white stripe down the center of its head and back. This biting insect can transmit harmful diseases like West Nile virus, Chikungunya and dengue fever.
One of the best-known summer pests, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water or soft soil. There are about 170 different kinds of mosquito species in North America alone.