From the Los Altos Town Crier
October 24, 2018
Mosquitoes are incredibly well adapted for living on Earth in extreme conditions. They exist at 8,000 feet in the Himalayas and below sea level in the California desert. The eggs of mosquitoes can survive months to decades in desert, frozen tundra and even on dried flowers.
When it rains, the eggs hatch immediately, releasing mosquito larvae. Water reduces the amount of oxygen available to the eggs, which triggers hatching. Mosquitoes’ normal diet is nectar and aphid excrement. Blood is ingested only to fulfill reproductive needs. Mosquitoes become sexually mature at 2 days old and mate in swarms at dusk or dawn.
Different species feed at characteristic times of day. For example, Aedes aegypti, the mosquito responsible for spreading Zika, yellow fever, dengue fever and chikungunya, prefers to feed at dusk and has a proclivity for ankles and feet. Culex pipiens, the common house mosquito, feeds after dark.