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Mosquitoes: Wow! These Are Annoying printer.gif

Perhaps the animal we'll see most during the Trans-Amazon Expedition is the mosquito. They have followed us from the coast, up the mountains, and will continue to follow us all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, over 3,000 miles away.

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Mosquitoes can be found in every region of the world, except in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Throughout the world there are nearly 3,000 species of mosquitoes. Most of us have been bitten by a mosquito at some point. The area that is bitten becomes red and itchy. The redness and itchy feeling is caused by a reaction to the mosquito’s saliva. Using their proboscis (pro-BO-sis), the nose-like tube, they stab the flesh and begin to fill their bodies with your blood.

But, did you know that it’s only female mosquitoes that bite and suck blood? Male mosquitoes don’t have a different type of proboscis that won’t allow them to suck blood.

Mosquitoes don’t drink blood. They actually eat nectar. Mosquitoes store the blood in their bodies to bring back to their nests of eggs.

Not only are their bites itchy, but they can pose one of the greatest threats to our team. Mosquitoes transmit a disease called malaria, which if un-treated could result in death. Throughout, more than one million people die each year from mosquito-borne illnesses. The expedition team takes medicine regularly to prevent us from getting malaria or other mosquito illnesses. We also wear special clothing that has been soaked in permethrin, a natural mosquito repellent.

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This photo shows a mosquito thought to be carrying malaria. Compare this mosquito to the one above. How is it different?

For further exploration of mosquitoes, check out the following web sites.

National Geographic's Animal Photos and Facts

Science News For Kids: Mosquitoes

Wikipeidia's Mosquito Entry

How should we change our habits to help the planet?

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