Mosquitoes are dangerous blood-sucking insects but there are quite a few behavioral differences between male and female mosquitoes. Did you know that just female mosquitoes suck blood from its hosts while male mosquitoes do not? So how do male mosquitoes survive without blood? Read on to find out along with other interesting mosquito facts.
It is very normal to be confused between male and female mosquitoes because of their size. We want to take a closer look at both genders of mosquitoes and demystify some misconceptions around them. Firstly, there are quite a few differences between male and female mosquitoes physically, but they are not visible to the naked eye.
You need to take a much closer look to tell the differences. More importantly, there is a stark difference between the diets of both genders. The sound male mosquitoes make is also quite different from female ones. With a lot of information to go through, let’s not waste any more time.
Male mosquitoes are nearly identical when it comes to shape, color, and size compared to their female counterparts. There are physiological differences but you would need to take a magnified look to see the differences. So, what are the characteristics of male mosquitoes? When you magnify into a male mosquito you will notice that they have long and slender feeding tubes that extend outwards.
It looks very similar to an antenna. This organ is called a “proboscis”. Males are known to have a feathery proboscis full of hair. They are very sensitive to pressure and sound. Whenever a female mosquito is nearby and causes the buzzing sound, we are all accustomed to, the male mosquitoes are notified that a female mosquito is nearby.
Male mosquitoes also are known to be born with Johnston’s organ, which is responsible for identifying the sound and speed of mosquito wings. People who study mosquitoes have identified that there is a stark difference between the sound produced by male and female mosquitoes. Male mosquitoes are capable of discerning the sound using the Johnston’s organ. The organ is also used to identify vibrations in the air.
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Adult females are capable of laying 200 eggs at a time in stagnant water. It takes a day or two for the eggs to hatch. Once the eggs hatch, it takes a few more days for the larvae to mature and grow into what we commonly call “wigglers”. These “wigglers” require air to breathe while going through a four-stage growth process.
During the larval stage of the mosquito life cycle, you could pour a layer of oil on the water they breed in and they will die by drowning. But if you let the mosquitoes complete their larval stages, they will grow into pupae and eventually grow into full-sized adult male mosquitoes. In the pupae stage, the appearance of male mosquitoes is very similar to that of shrimps.
They are capable of hiding from predators by moving erratically in water to throw them off guard. The once the pupae stage is complete, the eggs fully mature into adult mosquitoes and start flying. The whole process takes between 7 to 10 days. Past the growth stage, full-grown mosquitoes are not capable of living too long. Even in ideal living conditions, they live for about a week at best and in some cases even less. This is the window that they have to find female mating partners to reproduce.
When it comes to visual appearance, there are no differentiating factors between male and female mosquitoes. However, upon magnification, you will notice various characteristics that are unique to female mosquitoes. The proboscis of female mosquitoes is much longer and thinner than male mosquitoes.
They are also free from any feathery or bushy characteristics seen in male counterparts. Female mosquitoes do not actively seek out mating partners as they know male mosquitoes will chase them down for the mating process.
Female mosquitoes and male mosquitoes do not have any noticeable difference when it comes to their lifespan. The egg, larva, and pupae stages are very identical to that of their male counterparts. However, there are some differences once the pupae hatch into full-sized female mosquitoes. Their final stage in the life cycle is much longer than male mosquitoes.
They live for a month on average as long as they are in ideal living conditions. Each female mosquito is capable of delivering 200 or more eggs every few days which makes up for the short lifespan of these creatures. Most importantly, female mosquitoes need to mate just one to stay fertilized throughout their lifespan.
Female mosquitoes require blood to survive, unlike their male counterparts. They are the ones who draw blood using their proboscis similar to how male mosquitoes consume nectar from plants. They are reliant on sugary fluids for survival but to be able to produce eggs they need protein which is why they draw blood. Without getting access to blood, female mosquitoes cannot reproduce making us one of the easiest targets for them.
Humans are natural sources of heat and carbon dioxide; which mosquitoes are attracted to when looking for “hosts”. They fly to all warm-blooded mammals including humans to feed on their blood. A lot of us are annoyed by the buzzing sound that mosquitoes make. Did you know that they buzz around your ears simply because you emit carbon dioxide from your facial area?
Since you emit the most carbon dioxide from your mouth and nose, you become an instant mosquito target and they circle you around your head. Each time a female mosquito feeds on blood, it needs to rest. You will normally find them resting in tree branches or on the underside of leaves. Eggs are usually laid on stagnant water with plenty of bacteria.
The larvae feed on the bacteria and algae to grow into full-sized mosquitoes in a matter of days. The mother mosquitoes have no parental duties to perform as they head straight off to lay another batch of eggs. This cycle keeps on continuing until the end of a female mosquito’s lifespan. Depending on the living conditions and availability of blood, female mosquitoes can lay an average of 1000 eggs in a single lifetime across five instances of laying eggs.
|Male Mosquitoes||Female Mosquitoes|
|Male mosquitoes tend to have feathery proboscis but the physical difference are not visible easily with bear eyes.||Female mosquitoes have a thin and slender proboscis and are easily distinguishable upon magnification.|
|Male mosquitoes are known to not bite humans as they do not need blood for any bodily functions.||Female mosquitoes require blood to survive as they require the proteins needed to lay eggs.|
|Male mosquitoes feed on sources of sugar like nectar.||Female mosquitoes require sugar content to survive as well for nutrition but also feed on blood to fertilize their eggs.|
|Male mosquitoes live for about one week from birth.||Female mosquitoes can live for anything between two weeks to a month depending on living conditions.|
Both male and female mosquitoes are known to make buzzing noises but there are subtle differences. All mosquitoes have one set of wings that are as long as their bodies. These wings flap rapidly which causes a disturbance in the air. The rapid movement of the air causes the sound whenever mosquitoes are near you.
Almost all mosquitoes make such noise to some varying degree. However, when mosquitoes are stationary, they do not cause any sound. Noise from the wings is produced only when they are flying. They also use the noise emitted from the wings to communicate with each other.
Males make use of the sound to track down females and mate with them. Males flap their wings up to 700 times per second while female mosquitoes do so about 550 times per second. If you measure the sound in Hertz, which is one of the measurements for the frequency of sound it comes to 575 Hz for males and 450 Hz for females.
Just like most creatures, the mosquito population thrives thanks to both genders. Even if the male mosquitoes do not consume blood, they are responsible for keeping the population alive. And they also enable female mosquitoes to breed hundreds of eggs every few weeks. The mosquito population can be controlled by eliminating either female or male mosquitoes.
Since both genders make use of sugary fluids to keep themselves nourished, you should try to keep your plants and flowers out of reach from mosquitoes to safeguard yourself. You should also prevent any water from stagnating in your house of surrounding areas as well. Eliminating all mosquitoes is never going to be a reality but all we can do is take preventive measures. Pesticides and other mosquito killing products can be of great help.
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