10 Scary Facts About the Zika Mosquitoes

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.

One –

256px-Aedes_Albopictus
Aedes albopictus obtaining blood from a human

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.

Two

Aedes aeypti
Aedes aeypti

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)

 

Three

The mosquitoes are vectors (i.e., carriers) for many viral pathogens (i.e., yellow fever, Zika dengue fever and Chikungunya fever.

Four

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.

Five

Female have a long proboscis, which they use to collect blood to feed her eggs. Males feed on plant nectar.

Six

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.

Seven

They bite during the day as well as at dusk and at night.

Eight

They are really good at spreading disease because they do bite diverse host species, which enables certain pathogens to jump species.

Nine

They are fast biters, so it’s difficult to swat them dead before they’ve moved on to their next victim.

Ten

They breed near standing water.

 


The Good News (maybe)

Bug – Out Time:


Sources:

Wikepedia on Aedes albpictus

Wikepedia on Aedes aegypti

Zika Virus

Featured Creatures (University of Florida)

European Center for Disease Prevention and Control 


Photo Credit:

Aedes aegypi picture from Wikipedia: photographer By Muhammad Mahdi Karim 

Aedes albopictus picture: CDC – This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #4487.


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.