Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals in the world
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.