Why Do Mosquitoes Exist?

Annoying, good-for-nothing, itchy little pests, or a vital part of our ecosystem?

Today we shall find out!

Why-do-Mosquitoes-exist---Milan's-Mischief

Mosquitoes. So small and yet so annoying. So insignificant and yet so deadly.

Mosquitoes are generally hated by most humans the world over but did you know they as well as being annoying pests, mozzies are also…

THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL ON EARTH

I present a list of the top 5 deadliest animals in the world…

Drawing of the top 5 Deadliest Animals in the World

Ok, I hear you… so far this info is reinforcing your general dislike of mosquitos and I haven’t even answered your burning question yet:

Why Do Mosquitoes Exist!?

Putting itchy welts, that annoying buzzing as they pass your ear, and disease aside, let’s take a quick look at the meaning-of-life from a mosquito’s point-of-view:
Mosquitos-Role-in-the-Ecosystem---Milan's-Mischief

Food for frogs and pollinators of flowers. Ah yes, the humble mosquito indeed plays an important part in our ecosystem (damnit!) In fact, not all mosquitos are bad.

There are around 3,500 species of mozzie in the world and only approximately 100 find humans delicious and even then its only the females that bite when they need blood (protein) for laying their eggs….

Introducing…. the hapless male mosquito. More frog food than anything else really.

Hapless male mozzie

While we have your sympathy for the miserable male mosquito, did you know that mosquitos are the protectors of certain environments?

Yep, ever noticed how humans don’t inhabit some wetlands and rainforests due to the risk of being eaten alive by (female) mosquitoes?

Mozzies = A natural barrier to human invasion.

Side note: In case you were wondering, ‘Mozzie’ is the Australian slang word for mosquito.

So, now we know it’s actually FEMALE mosquitoes that we loathe…

How Do Mosquitoes Find You?

Female mosquitoes choose their human victims based on a complex trifecta of carbon dioxide, body temperature and body odour. Basically – some people smell like a tasty meal, and other’s don’t. Our victim ‘Frank’ is a mozzie magnet. Let’s find out why…
The perfect mosquito meal
1. Mosquitos can detect your carbon dioxide (CO2) from over 50m away. Some people emit more CO2 than others, namely people with a higher resting metabolism.
Carbon-Dioxide-Level-in-humans-2
2. Next, mosquitoes like people of a certain temperature. Even 2.5 degrees difference can be off-putting to a mozzie and they won’t land. Some people have a body temperature that’s just right….
Drawing of Mosquito Preferred Body Heat

3. Lastly, its all about your body odour. Some mozzies like the smell of stinky cheese and also bite around the foot area. (You know if you fall into the stank foot category.) Other mozzies base your tastiness factor on fatty acids caused by bacteria on your skin.

In other words, people with more bacteria but fewer types of bacteria are the most appealing to mozzies.

Drawing of Mosquito Preferred Body Odour

Add them all together and you get…

THE FRANK

A human delicacy mozzie magnet. (Sorry Frank.)

If you’re unfortunate enough to be just like Frank, let’s take a closer look at what happens once a female mosquito finds you…

What Happens When a Mosquito Bites You?

Mosquitoes don’t actually bite… they SPEAR YOU and then spit a whole bucket of their saliva into your body while they suck you dry.

Her spear is called Proboscis which is made up of six needles.

 

Here’s how the whole disgusting process happens:
Proboscis-anatomy- mosquito

Ah yes. Lovely isn’t it. Here’s the process in a little more detail:

=

Step 1

Two of the needles have 47 sharp daggers which she uses to cut through your skin with.
=

Step 2

Two more needles hold your skin apart.
=

Step 3

One needle is used as a straw to suck up your blood.
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Step 4

The last needle is the worst: it’s the one she spits her saliva into you with. Her saliva contains anti-coagulants (stuff that stops your blood from clotting) and this is how she transfers whatever nasties she is carrying across to you. It’s also this saliva that your immune system reacts to and causes itching.

So she doesn’t MEAN to infect you with parasites and viruses that are deadly and kill you or cause long term serious health problems…

She just wants a drink of your blood and she’s a little gross about it….

Minor detail, that if left undisturbed, she can drink up to three times her body weight from a single victim. She can do this because while she’s drinking your blood, she separates your water from your blood and literally poops out any excess water she sucks up to make way for more blood. So she’s pooping and spitting on you and stealing your blood at the same time.

illustration of what-happens-when-a-mosquito-bites-you

So to summarize, mosquitoes are:

The bane of human existence
The annoying buzz in your bedroom at night
The itchy welts that last for days
A night flower pollinating, tasty frog snack that happens to like pooing and spitting on humans and drinking their blood while passing on deadly diseases in the name of reproduction.

… and THAT is why mosquitoes exist.

Extremely Factual References:

Mosquito proboscis anatomy

Mosquitos part in the ecosystem 

For any evil do-ers like my mum who like to say “Mosquitos is spelled with an ‘e’ in it… you’ve spelled it wrong. Everyone knows mosquitos has an ‘e'”… here’s the reference where you can see that it can be spelled EITHER WAY. I chose to use both… because I don’t like to discriminate… and because it helps my SEO.

Did you enjoy this cartoon?

I hope I answered your question ‘Why Do Mosquitoes Exist?’ in a fun and entertaining way. I do research these posts as per my ‘Extremely Factual References’ above.. but I’m no scientist. I am however, kinda good at drawing cartoons.

Here’s one on how to draw a mosquito you might like… or click here to learn all about Floating Poo Particles next.

Let me know what you want me to do a cartoon on next in the comments below!

Nicola xx

PS: Share this with all your friends!

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