Common Name: Woodland Floodwater Mosquito

Scientific Name: Aedes alanticus
 

Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum:  Arthropoda
Class:  Insecta
Order: Diptera
Family:  Culicidae
Genus:  Aedes
Species:  A. atlanticus

 

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Aedes atlanticus, woodland floodwater mosquito, is one of the most dangerous and life taking mosquitoes in North America.  It is best known for spreading one of the worst known viruses, the West Nile Virus.  This mosquito is a yellowish brownish animal with long legs compared to its body, at least 4/5 of its body.  It can smell its food, blood and nectar, from a distance of about 100 feet.  They weigh about 2 – 2.5 milligrams.  They are probably 1/8 of an inch to ½ of an inch.  They have three part insect body; head, thorax, abdomen.  Their wings move about a 450-600 times a second.  They are also naturally adapted to their environment.

Aedes Atlanticus is located in the bottom middle of its niche.  Mosquitoes eat small bugs, nectar, and drink blood from humans.  The predators of the mosquito are mostly dragonfly that are actually a benefit to the community because the predators will stop the disease that the mosquito spread and will lower the risk of disease.  These mosquitoes live by the swampy areas in the woods.  Mosquitoes spend part of a year in diapauses; they delay their development, typically for months and will carry on with life when there is enough water.  The eggs remain unharmed if they dry out in diapauses and hatch later when they’re covered by water.  The batch of Aedes eggs in diapauses tend to hatch irregularly over an extended period of time. This adaptation of this species makes it much more difficult to control, than those mosquitoes whose larvae can be killed all together as they hatch.  This distinguishes them from Anopheles species that do also behave in such a manner, though not to the same degree of sophistication.   

There are over 3,500 species that have been described and subdivided into two subfamilies that have 41 genera in total.  More species are being discovered and the population is increasing every year slowly.  However, each county in United States has their own Pest Control for just mosquitoes.  They are trying to eradicate all the mosquitoes in their county by repellants, predators, toxins, etc.  These mosquitoes are mostly found in Florida, California, and some in Canada.  Many scientists believe that mosquitoes are the most dangerous animals on the planet.

Aedes Atlanticus are consumers that are omnivores.  Females use their sharp pointy mouth, proboscis, to enter the human’s skin to suck their blood.  Conceptually, the mosquito’s proboscis is an adaptation of the mouth parts.  They start to suck the blood when they have found the right vein inside the body.  Females have to suck blood because that is the only way they can reproduce to have babies.  When the mosquito first lands on the host, her mouthparts will be enclosed entirely in this sheath, and she will touch the tip of the labium to the skin in various places.  Sometimes, she will begin to bite almost straight away, other times, she will prod around, looking for the right spot.  The mosquito’s saliva exacerbates West Nile Virus infection. Males rarely drink blood.  Instead they like to drink nectar from the flowers.  They are usually active during dusk or dawn and are called crepuscular.  Aedes Atlanticus have a few predators.  The most common ones are dragonflies and bats.  Other natural predators include Gambusia, mosquito fish, bats and purple martins, some fungi, and nematodes. They try to avoid the animals by fitting into smaller cracks or blend into their environment. 

These animals are “blood thirsty” vampires.  First of all, if you eat a lot of bananas, you will most likely to be bitten by.  Secondly, they bite young children as the mosquitoes like the children blood better than older people.  Aedes Atlanticus goes through hibernation as well as almost every other animal.  However, they are able to survive without hibernation during winter.  They are known for their disease spreading virus called the West Nile Virus.  Many Americans suffer from this disease across the country.  But people are given a vaccine at birth to prevent catching this disease.  Over the years, scientists are still studying these animals on their blood sucking mouth and the virus they transport. 

Rajvarun G.
Published: 2/2013

Sources
www.discoverlife.org;
www.nhcgov.com/aedes atlanticus;
www.co.galveston.tx.us/mosquito
www.mosquito.me.uk;

World Book (encyclopedia) by World Book, Inc.

Photo Credit:  Picture:http://www.google.com/imgres?q=aedes+atlanticus&um=