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 mosquitoâs 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 itâs only female mosquitoes that bite and suck blood? Male mosquitoes donât have a different type of proboscis that wonât allow them to suck blood.
Mosquitoes donât 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.
This photo shows a mosquito thought to be carrying malaria. Compare this mosquito to the one above. How is it different?
National Geographic's Animal Photos and Facts
Science News For Kids: Mosquitoes
Wikipeidia's Mosquito Entry
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