(ORDO NEWS) — In spring, summer, and autumn mosquitoes pester us. Probably all of us are enraged by their annoying beeping at night, bites, and the itching of the skin caused by them. Let’s reveal a secret – in fact, these insects are not created only to annoy people. They are useful in nature because their larvae cleanse freshwater bodies, and adults pollinate plants and provide food for other insects and even birds.
At the moment, science knows about the existence of 3600 species of mosquitoes and some of them do without human blood. But the so-called “city mosquitoes” of the Culex pipiens species need human blood because without it they cannot reproduce. So why do mosquitoes bite people and what happens in their bodies when human blood is supplied? Let’s figure it out.
Each person should remember that only female mosquitoes drink blood. Males can live in peace, feeding on only one flower nectar. Females also sometimes drink nectar, but the protein contained in it is not enough for the formation of eggs necessary for procreation. So they begin to attack and bite us because human blood is very rich in proteins. Not only human blood is full of nutritional properties, but also the blood of other mammals. Therefore, not only we suffer from mosquitoes, but also dogs, cats, cows, and many other creatures.
The proteins in the blood are digested inside female mosquitoes and converted into organic compounds called amino acids. They, in turn, play an important role in the production of eggs, without which insects cannot become pregnant and lay eggs. When the female is looking for a victim and drinks his blood, she has already “slept” with the males. Having collected a sufficient amount of proteins, they wait 2-3 days for the eggs to ripen and lay them on the surface of the water. After that, most of the females die, and the surviving individuals again begin to annoy us with their squeaks and bites. They no longer need to mate with males a second time, because there is a sufficient supply of sperm in their bodies.
Fun fact: the squeak of a mosquito is the sound of its wings moving. They swing them up to 600 times a second!
What mosquitoes don’t drink blood?
Some mosquito species are able to reproduce even without a blood-feeding. The fact is that their larvae from their first days begin to feed on bacteria and detritus, that is, dead tissues that have fallen into nature. The larvae of Toxorhynchites mosquitoes eat their own kind. But all of the above is already a food with high protein content. So why would these mosquitoes look for a source of blood and risk their lives? They understand that this is pointless, and therefore they live quite happily for themselves.
Some “city mosquitoes” also have the ability to do without human blood. This skill turned out to be vital for them because some groups are forced to stay in half-flooded basements of houses all their lives. These waters contain a sufficient amount of organic matter and mosquitoes store protein even at the larval stage. So the females can make the first clutch on their own, but then they have to look for human blood.
What kind of blood do mosquitoes drink?
It is believed that mosquitoes can smell a person up to 30 meters away. They don’t bite all people indiscriminately because they have their own taste. According to Lifehack, mosquitoes are most preferred by people with the first blood group. It is believed that they bite them twice as often as people with the second blood group. This means that in most cases we ourselves attract mosquitoes to ourselves. Also, these insects are very attracted by the lactic acid contained in our skin. In large quantities, it is formed after the consumption of dairy products, soy, and pickled vegetables. And if a person is also physically active and often sweats, flies fly at him in droves.
Some will find it hard to believe, but tiny mosquitoes have influenced history so strongly that they have determined the fate of entire empires. Some scientists believe that throughout history, blood-sucking insects have exterminated almost half of humanity. According to statistics, between 1980 and 2010, between 1,200,000 and 2,780,000 people died from mosquito-borne malaria each year. It can be said that malaria has killed more people than any other disease.
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