Mosquitoes

Classification

Mosquitoes are small, midge-like flies that constitute the family Culicidae. Females of most species are ectoparasites, whose tube-like mouthparts (called a proboscis) pierce the hosts' skin to consume blood. The word "mosquito" is Spanish for "little fly".

Behaviour

Thousands of species feed on the blood of various kinds of hosts, mainly vertebrates, including mammalsbirdsreptilesamphibians, and even some kinds of fish. Some mosquitoes also attack invertebrates, mainly other arthropods. Though the loss of blood is seldom of any importance to the victim, the saliva of the mosquito often causes an irritating rash that is a serious nuisance. Much more serious though, are the roles of many species of mosquitoes as vectors of diseases. In passing from host to host, some transmit extremely harmful infections such as malariayellow feverChikungunyaWest Nile virusdengue feverfilariasisZika virus and other arboviruses, rendering it the deadliest animal family in the world.

Risks

Some species of this genus transmit serious diseases, including dengue fever, yellow fever, the Zika virus, and chikungunya. In Polynesia, the species Aedes polynesiensis is responsible for the transmission of human lymphatic filariasis.

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