Mos­qui­toes are the dead­li­est an­i­mals in the world

World of Animals - - Bloodsuckers -

The name ‘mos­quito’ is de­rived from Span­ish words mean­ing ‘tiny fly’, but these crea­tures prove be­yond doubt that size isn’t ev­ery­thing. These diminu­tive, buzzing blood­suck­ers are re­spon­si­ble for more hu­man deaths than any other an­i­mal due to their trans­mis­sion of dis­eases in­clud­ing malaria, dengue fever and en­cephali­tis.

Only fe­male mos­qui­toes bite and suck blood, which they do in order to pro­vide pro­tein to their de­vel­op­ing eggs. The in­sects can drink up to three times their weight in blood and gen­er­ally pre­fer to feed on large mam­mals such as cows and horses. The ir­ri­tat­ing bumps you get af­ter be­ing bit­ten by a mos­quito are ac­tu­ally a re­ac­tion to the bug’s saliva, rather than a wound from the bite.

An­noy­ing as they are, mos­qui­toes don’t have it all their own way. Sev­eral an­i­mals tar­get them to sat­isfy their blood lust. For ex­am­ple, Kenyan jump­ing spi­ders lack the mouth parts re­quired to pierce skin so feed on blood-gorged mos­qui­toes in­stead.

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