The deadliest creature alive probably munched on you this past summer. This dastardly winged creature has been responsible for the death of up to 2.7 million people every year, far more than any weather-related fatalities. These blood-sucking demons are nature’s most efficient carriers of deadly viruses. They are responsible for transmitting Malaria, Dengue Fever, Yellow fever, Encephalitis, Chikungunya, West Nile, the Zika Virus, and even heartworms through their saliva. That, is quite the résumé, little insect.
Perhaps, even more interesting is that only the females of the mosquito species suck blood from living creatures, the males only consume flower nectar. And do you know why the females have an insatiable need for blood? It’s to enable their reproductive cycle to succeed, our liquid life is an essential ingredient to enable the creation of mosquito children. That’s right, the most irritating insects in the world uses the protein and iron pilfered from mammals to bring bouncing baby mosquito eggs to life.
These dastardly demons of the insect world would give you the chills if you saw them up close. How many nasty needle-like proboscises do you think the heinous little beast has to gorge on your blood? One? Two? Three? Nope. And the buzzard sounds— Six, in a single mosquito bite, six needle-like components enter your flesh. First, the two outer mandibles saw into your skin, then the second set holds the tissues apart as the hypopharynx drips saliva into the jagged opening. The saliva prevents the blood from clotting. Lastly, the labrum siphons up the crimson liquid by joining up with the hypopharynx to form a straw. Slurp, slurp, slurp. The female strives to fill her abdomen space up to the maximum capacity with red blood cells. To accomplish this, while she is extracting the blood from the mammal, she is separating the water from the iron-rich beverage, and squeezing out the excess water in the form of pee. So not only is she stealing your blood, she’s taking a whiz on you at the same time. How horrid is that? Do you feel violated yet?
Did you know that the word mosquito, is Spanish for little fly? Yet a mosquito is entirely different than a Spanish fly? A Spanish fly was an aphrodisiac formulated by grinding up blister beetles, and when it was consumed, it was supposed to provoke extreme sexual arousal in men. Alas, a common side effect was death. So, I surmise from that tidbit of information that, a Spanish fly and a mosquito are actually quite similar in that they can both cause an unexpected demise.
Did you know a male mosquito lives for five to seven days? Yet the female can live up to a month. I find that fact oddly satisfying.
Now here’s an oddball but curious question. How many mosquitos would it take to drain an adult human of their blood? Amazingly enough, it would take approximately one million mosquitos to bleed you dry. However, that particular fact is irrelevant, because you would be dead before they finished with you. The human defence system would release such a massive amount of histamine into your body that you’d go into shock and die long before your veins were emptied. Histamine is a chemical that is released when foreign pathogens are detected in your body. The saliva from the female mosquito is what produces a histamine release, and then in turn, is what causes the insane itching at the bite site.
Let’s wrap it up with the most grisly question of all, how large does one mosquito need to be to bleed you dry? Although the answer can’t be proven, some scientists say, in theory a mosquito should be the size of a large dog in order to have the ability to slush puppie you dry, but then again, once you take into account the monstrous size that the outer saw-like mandibles would become, it’ll be more like the magicians trick of a person being sawed in half without the revival. I think I’ll stick to the tiny blood-sucking mosquitoes I can smack.
Are you looking forward to winter yet?