Mosquito characteristics

Mosquito description, feeding, behavior and reproduction

What is a mosquito like?

– Common English Name: Mosquito

Scientific classification:

Photo of mosquito (Culex sp.)

Class: Insecta

Order: Diptera

Family: Culicidae

Characteristics of mosquito

  • Longevity: Several weeks or months, according to the species.
  • Habitat: Humid areas, as pools, forests, gardens, human constructions.
  • Distribution: Cosmopolitan.
  • Customs: Terrestrial and nocturnal species normally.
  • Feeding: Plants, animal, matter in decomposition.
  • Predators: Birds, bats, fish, aquatic insects, amphibians.
    Photo of mosquito. It feeds on fresh blood that it sucks from vertebrates by means of its biting-sucking mouth parts.

Physical appearance of mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are small insects equipped with a pair of wings and a mouthpiece transformed into a kind of trunk, prepared for suction.

There are other dipteran insects similar to mosquitoes but they do not sting, as is the case of chironomids, similar in size to the true mosquito but with very hairy antennas or the typical ones, much larger than mosquitoes.

Mosquito behavior

Mosquito larvae are aquatic and are totally dependent on water to develop.

Mosquitoes form swarms composed of males. They are the ones who carry out mosquito dispersal flights in search of a guest to give his blood or to allow the propagation of the species.

Depending on the species of mosquito, the ability to fly is different. Culex pipiens remains in place as conditions are favorable, while Ochlerotatus caspius makes long travelling windblown.

Mosquitoes bite particularly at dawn and dusk; some mosquitoes, as Culex modestus, can feed on blood during the day, though.

Mosquitoes do hibernation even in mild winters. For this reason, mosquitoes take refuge in basements.

It is a characteristic the mosquito-pitched sound, emitting constant and annoying as it flies in the silence of the night.

Mosquito feeding

female mosquito
Photo of female mosquito filled with blood. When the mosquito finishes biting a person his abdomen swells, he becomes plump and loses flight capacity

Only female mosquitoes bite people.

Why do female mosquitoes bite people?

They bite because they need to draw blood for the maturation of eggs because they require blood proteins.

Each species of mosquito has a preference for the host on which they feed. For example:

  • Culex Hortensis mosquito bites in preference to amphibian
  • Culiseta longiareolata prefers the blood of birds.
  • Culex pipiens mosquitoes do not need blood for his first egg laying since they take reserves accumulated during the larval stage.
  • When mosquitoes are adults, they take a while before eating. Then, if they are female, they feed on blood. If they are male, they feed on nectar.
  • Female mosquitoes have biting-sucking mouthparts because they are blood-sucking insects.

Mosquito reproduction


A mosquito has a complete metamorphosis, going through the phases of egg, larva, pupa and adult

The larval stage lasts 10 days. The nymph stage is shorter than the larva, about 3 days.

When the female mosquito sucks blood, it teaks refuge in a safe shelter for the total development of the eggs.

The number of mosquitoes that lay eggs depends on each species, but also on the amount of blood that has been taken.

Where does a mosquito live?

The mosquito lives in areas with standing water. It needs these places to lay its eggs.

Problems that mosquitoes cause

Mosquito bite can transmit certain diseases such as malaria (malaria), yellow fever and dengue.

Some mosquitoes can transmit diseases to animals.

punto rojo More information on mosquitoes.

Vicenç Martínez
Written by Vicenç Martínez Editor of articles about animals and nature

28 September, 2022

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