The slender, elongated body of the adult is covered with scales as are the veins of the wings. Mosquitoes are also characterized by long, fragile-looking legs and elongated, piercing mouthparts. The feathery antennae of the male are generally bushier than those of the female. The males, and sometimes the females, feed on nectar and other plant juices. In most species, however, the females require the proteins obtained from a blood meal in order to mature their eggs. Different species of mosquitoes show preferences and, in many cases, narrow restrictions as to host animals.

Mosquitoes are common, flying insects that live in most parts of the world. Over 3,500 types of mosquitoes can be found worldwide.

Not all mosquitoes bite people or animals. When mosquitoes bite people, the most common reactions to the bite are itching and swelling.

Some mosquitoes can be vectors. A vector is an animal, insect, or tick that spreads pathogens (germs) to people and animals. The germs (viruses and parasites) that mosquitoes spread can make you sick.

Some mosquitoes bite, but do not spread germs. These types of mosquitoes are called nuisance mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes are apparently attracted to host animals by moisture, lactic acid, carbon dioxide, body heat, and movement. The mosquito’s hum results from the high frequency of its wingbeats, and the female’s wing beat frequency may serve as a means of sex recognition.


  • Adult mosquitoes live indoors and outdoors.

  • Mosquitoes can bite day and night.

  • Adult mosquitoes live for about 2 to 4 weeks depending on the species, humidity, temperature, and other factors. Female mosquitoes often live longer than male mosquitoes.

  • Only female mosquitoes bite people and animals to get a blood meal. Female mosquitoes need a blood meal to produce eggs.

  • Mosquitoes get infected with germs, such as viruses and parasites, when they bite infected people and animals.

  • It takes just a few infected mosquitoes to start an outbreak in a community and put you and your family at risk of becoming sick.


Mosquito control professionals from local government departments or mosquito control districts use this information about mosquito biology and their life cycles to develop plans for controlling mosquitoes. All types of mosquitoes have similar life cycles. A mosquito egg hatches into a larva. A larva becomes a pupa. An adult mosquito emerges from the pupa.

Some mosquitoes lay eggs in water, others on soil. Some mosquitoes lay their eggs singly on the surface of water, others lay several eggs at a time in rafts that float on water, others lay eggs on moist ground, and others lay eggs inside containers above the water line. Watch a video to see a female Aedes aegypti mosquito laying eggs.

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