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Mosquito's Adaptations

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Kevin Wa

on 2 October 2015

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Transcript of Mosquito's Adaptations

Can You Spot the Behavioral and Physical Adaptations?
Adaptation 2: Incremental Hatching
Mosquito's Adaptations
Adaptation 3: The Ability to Thrive in Any Type of Non-flowing Water
Adaptation 1: Specialized Mouth Parts
Adaptation 4: The Ability to "See" in the Dark
Adaptations happens to every organism or living thing in every environment and ecosystem in the world. It is crucial for their survival or else the animal will go extinct because it may not be able to reproduce, cannot find food or many other factors. When they adapt they may change their normal behavior in a certain season, they may have a certain physical feature or structure, characteristic so they can thrive and have an advantage over their predators and protect themselves from danger. They may adapt when the seasons change, like how birds migrate, they may also adapt once they grow older and need to live alone or they may adapt some other times like certain adaptations when they need to look for food (see figure 1). Without a doubt, adaptations are crucial to an animal's survival in a ecosystem. Without any adaptations, animals will go extinct in their ever changing environment.
The mosquito, especially the female mosquito has specialized mouth parts designed to pierce skin and suck blood. This is only found in female mosquitoes because only the female sucks blood of organisms while the male settles for sugary fluids such as nectar to retain the energy they need, though the female also retains their energy by sugary fluids, too. She only uses the adaptation when requiring energy to reproduce such as needing to lay eggs, using the nutrition rich blood to provide food for the embryo inside. The mosquito's mouth has a tube which sucks up blood and a tube that pumps in saliva and a non-clogging agent to prevent clogging in the other tube (see figure 3a). The female mosquito also has a sheath for its six mouthpieces (see figure 3b). It is interesting to see that the mosquito has such a complex system even though they are such small animals. Without this adaptation, They wouldn't be able to survive because the female wouldn't be able to reproduce.
Another important adaptation is their ability to hatch incrementally, not hatching all at the same time, specifically the flood water mosquito, which lives near water which flood seasonally or annually. They hatch this way to ensure survival of the mosquito despite unfavorable weather, human tampering or other things that my be a disadvantage to mosquito survival. In fact only, 80% of the laid eggs hatch during the first flooding, and 5% hatch during the next flooding and the rest hatch later on, even years later (see figure 4) . I wonder if the mosquito incrementally lays eggs such as laying a hundred eggs in one month and laying more another day to further ensure mosquito survival. If they do this, the population will increase even faster because if a batch of eggs are killed, another batch is still able to survive.
The mosquito, when being a larvae also has the special ability to thrive in most water types such as fresh water, salt water and even polluted water (see figure 5). In fact, they thrive better in polluted water compared to the same  amount of relatively clean water. As larvae, they require water to breath, and they feed on the on the bacteria and debris found in the water for energy. Although they can thrive in may types of water, mosquitoes can't survive in fast moving or flowing water such as streams and rivers. The only species of mosquito larvae which is able to live in fast flowing water can only do it with help from a plant. The larvae breathes through the roots of a water plant in order for it to survive. It is very interesting to see that the mosquito larvae has adapted to survive in even the harshest environments such as polluted water and can even thrive better in polluted water. In fact, studies show that mosquitoes have adapted to even Global Warming. If everyone had this ability to adapt so quickly, most climate and natural catastrophes wouldn't be a problem.
Another important adaptation is the ability to see in the dark when there is not little or no light. Mosquitoes' eyes are super sensitive to low light. In a room without any light, mosquitoes can "see" by sensing carbon dioxide particles, air currents, heat, and each other (see figure 6). This way they can track down their hosts such a humans even in complete darkness. I wonder if the male mosquito has this ability because only the female needs blood for reproduction. If so, why might the male mosquito need this adaptation? Does the male sometimes help the female search for hosts or does the male have similar adaptations specialized to search for nectar and sweet fluids?
Mosquitoes are found in most areas in the world except for extremely cold conditions and weather such as Antarctica and Iceland (see figure 2). They thrive in warmer climates, such as temperatures over 26.7°C (80°F), especially near the equator. During the winter they hibernate, so you wouldn't be expecting too many bites over the winter except when it gets really warm. They cannot stand temperatures under 10°C or 50°F and will hibernate or die off. They especially need their adaptation to hibernate when it becomes the winter months. During these days, they must survive without food for many weeks.
Figure 2: This is a map of where mosquitoes live. The yellow represents where mosquitoes live and the green represents areas which are free from mosquitoes.
Figure 3a: This is a diagram of what the mosquito does to suck blood. Saliva and a non-clogging agent is pumped through a tube in its mouth to prevent clogging.
Figure 3b: This is a computer picture of a mosquito. Inside its long mouth, there is six different retractable mouthpieces specialized to pierce skin and suck blood.
Figure 6: This is a diagram of how mosquitoes have special senses to be able to track down their targets.
Figure 1: This is a picture of birds migrating for the winter. They typically fly south and do this because it is summer on the other side of Earth where it is warmer.
Figure 4: This is a video of a mosquito laying eggs. There are about a hundred eggs laid per raft of eggs. This type of design help the eggs not lose moisture as it is resting upon the water while not sinking.
Figure 5: This is a video of a colony of mosquito larvae which have hatched in this bucket of rainwater and grass from the lawn mower. The adult mosquito probably thought it was a good place to lay its eggs because the water was still, so to keep mosquitoes away from your house, you should empty all buckets of rain so mosquitoes won't hatch there.
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