Watch the amazing transformation of the Culex mosquito from egg to adult!
Posted by Backyard Bugs.
In the life cycle of mosquitoes an egg is the first stage. Depending on the mosquito species, eggs may be laid individually or connected together to form a “raft” type of structure. The Aedes aegypti mosquito lays her eggs individually, while the Culex pipiens mosquito lays approximately 200 eggs which she unites to form a raft.
In the life cycle of mosquitoes, mosquitoes in the larval stage are often referred to as “wigglers,” due to their movement in the water. Most larvae obtain oxygen through small tubes that reach the water’s surface. Other larvae lay adjacent to the surface to obtain oxygen, while others are able to obtain oxygen by fastening themselves to plants in the water.
During this stage, the larva goes through 4 different molts in which it sheds its exterior in order to grow bigger. The larva eats micro-organisms for the most part, although some mosquito species larvae will actually feast on other mosquito larva species. When the larva has progressed through the four stages, it will have changed into a pupa.
In the life cycle of mosquitoes, the pupal is the third stage. Mosquitoes in this transitional stage are referred to as “tumblers,” describing how they propel through the water. In this stage, the mosquito pupa rests without eating as it prepares to change into an adult mosquito.
Although they do “tumble” about in the water, this movement is mainly used to avert danger. This stage of the life cycle of mosquitoes ends when the pupa’s outer membrane splits open and the adult mosquito appears, usually within two days of entering this stage.
In the final stage of the life cycle of mosquitoes, the mosquito emerges from the pupal stage. Although the mosquito is an adult, it is not quite ready to take flight. It must wait nearby so its wings and body can fully dry and finish developing. After a few days, it takes flight and begins searching for nectar for food. It will also seek out a mate.
Once they have mated, the female will go in search of a blood meal and humans often become the target. For all mosquitoes, it is only the adult female who bites. The female needs the blood’s protein for her eggs to develop.
When she bites her victim’s skin, the mosquito can transmit disease to humans, dogs, cats and horses, if she is carrying the organisms of the disease. Such diseases include West Nile Virus, Malaria, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Encephalitis of various kinds and Heartworm, to name a few.
Fortunately, the life cycle of mosquitoes is very short: males usually only survive for about two weeks, while a female can survive up to a month or more, giving her many opportunities to bite unsuspecting victims and lay many batches of eggs. She is capable of producing thousands of eggs in her lifetime, which is one of the main reasons why mosquitoes are so prolific and why so many serious diseases quickly become epidemics in many parts of the world.
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