What and How Do Mosquitoes Eat?
When you think about mosquitoes and what they eat, it is not uncommon to instantly think they all live, function, and survive on blood. Surprisingly, that is not entirely the case. In this article you will learn just what and how mosquitoes eat.
What Mosquitoes Eat
Both male and female mosquitoes are also known for feeding upon nectar and plant juices. They usually enjoy eating sugary things and water. This is what gives them energy. When it comes to blood feeding, females are the ones who have a mouth piece that is adapted for piercing through the skin of animals. Females normally are on the hunt for blood when they are in the reproduction process to help get protein for developing eggs. Both plants and blood are great sources of energy for the mosquito.
Believe it or not, there is a genus of mosquito that does not feed upon plants or blood. This species is called the Toxorhynchites mosquito. They are the largest mosquito genus around and will prey on the larvae of other mosquitoes. They have been used throughout time as a mosquito control agent.
Importance of Blood Feeding
When you think about it, female mosquitoes are actually the brave ones. They are constantly risking their lives to make sure they get blood for their new young. When they can not find blood, they have to use a different method to get protein called, autogenous reproduction. This is not their first choice, however.
When it comes to females finding blood, there are quite a few things she is looking for. For one, she is looking for a host that provides an organic substance known as carbon dioxide. That is why most mosquitoes prefer humans over any other type of blood source. And mosquitoes will find their victim simply through our breath and sweat. You might be wondering why would they be hunting us by our sweat? It’s because the mosquito can actually smell the carbon dioxide in our breath and sweat. To mosquitoes, some people’s sweat smells better than others due to varying levels of carbon dioxide in human bodies.
Mosquitoes are not picky eaters. They are known as crepuscular feeders, which simply means that they will eat at dawn or dusk. When it is the hottest point of the day, most mosquitoes will prefer to rest inside of a cool place and wait till evening to start their hunt. But some mosquitoes even prefer to continue flying and hunting during the day.
Before a mosquito eats, it injects saliva into the blood sources body. The saliva is an anticoagulant which helps stop the blood from clotting. Once that has been injected, the females will puncture the skin and start to feed, almost like using a needle. This saliva, although beneficial to the mosquito, can be dangerous to humans. The reason is because it is the main source of passing pathogens to our bodies.