Two mosquitos spread the Zika virus.
- Aedes Aegypti (often called the Yellow Fever mosquito)
- Aedes Albopictus (commonly called the Asian Tiger mosquito)
Here is a list of the top ten facts about them.
Although the Aedes Albopictus is native to tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia, they are spreading to many countries. They can even survive snow. They are called the Asian Tiger Mosquito because of their striped appearance.
The Aedes Eegypti are considered to be the main carriers of the Zika virus, because they prefer to feed on humans. They feed mostly at dusk and at night, but can feed in the day. They live twelve months a year and, “their eggs can remain viable for over a year in a dry state.” (Wikepedia)
The mosquitoes are vectors (i.e., carriers) for many viral pathogens (i.e., yellow fever, Zika dengue fever and Chikungunya fever.
Appearance – The aedes aeypti is usually 1.6 to 2.8 mm long and is recognized by the white markings on its legs. The Aedes albopictus is 2 to 10 mm long and is striped black and white.
Female have a long proboscis, which they use to collect blood to feed her eggs. Males feed on plant nectar.
It has been suggested that the mosquitoes are drawn to pregnant women because they emit more carbon dioxide, but I’ve had trouble verifying that. It could be an urban myth.
They bite during the day as well as at dusk and at night.
They are really good at spreading disease because they do bite diverse host species, which enables certain pathogens to jump species.
They are fast biters, so it’s difficult to swat them dead before they’ve moved on to their next victim.
They breed near standing water.
The Good News (maybe)
Bug – Out Time:
Wikepedia on Aedes albpictus
Wikepedia on Aedes aegypti
Featured Creatures (University of Florida)
Aedes aegypi picture from Wikipedia: photographer By Muhammad Mahdi Karim
Why am I writing about mosquitoes?
They scare me. Did I mention that I’m writing a story about the world after a plague created by mosquitoes? Stay tuned.