The species of mosquito that is a carrier of malaria, filariasis
and encephalitis has been identified as Anopheles. The two main ways
of identifying it are by the way it sits while at rest – the head
body and mouth in a straight line but at an angle in relation to the
surface it is sitting on; and the spotted coloring on its wings
that is caused by colored scales.
What happens when the mosquitoes bite?
The mosquito’s proboscis is akin to a springy syringe with a
hollow needle. And when it bites you the needle slides into your
skin and probes for blood. Studies have shown that the mosquito
actually ‘fishes’ around for blood and has to make several attempts
before it succeeds. This is because blood vessels constitute less
than five percent of the skin. Once it strikes pay dirt, it secretes
blood thinners and vessel dilators. This ensures that it is able to
keep sucking easily. And when your body reacts to the insect’s
secretions, the small red lump, which we are so familiar with, gets
formed on the skin.
And how much of blood do you think a
mosquito can suck? A whopping 2-3 times its weight, no less. It
takes a few hours for a mosquito’s meal to be transformed into the
nutrition it requires. Take solace from the fact that mosquitoes
seek us out only when they require special nutrition. An essential
part of the diet of the female mosquito is blood. They need the
blood to mature their eggs. Which is why they come looking for us.
For their routine needs, they feed on plant sugars.
How it chooses its victims
Mosquitoes have sensitive feelers that can detect the carbon
dioxide that we breathe out. This they can do even when they are 50
feet away from us. The secretions from our skin glands like sweat
and oil contain lactic acid, another chemical that mosquitoes can
sense very fast, and they locate the source equally fast.
The reason why mosquitoes bite some of us
more than the others, is the difference in the amount of lactic acid
secreted and the odor-producing bacteria in our bodily secretions