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The dreaded mosquito Part 2 (Teacher: Michael)

The adult is eventually fully formed after going through pupal stage, with males usually emerging earlier. These stay hovering over surface of water, mating taking pace soon afterwards as females emerge. However, before she can lay viable eggs she will need to take blood meal from mammal or bird.

Mosquitoes are attracted to host by number of stimuli, particularly heat and exhaled carbon dioxide.

Having found host she will settle and probe with her proboscis (piercing- organ) to locate blood vessel, whereupon she will typically inject small amount of anticoagulant saliva into bite puncture to prevent blood from clotting. It is reaction of host's antibodies to this attack which causes redness, swelling and irritation at site of bite. In tropics female mosquito is without doubt most important vector of disease, carrying malaria, filariasis, yellow fever, dengue fever and forms of encephalitis.

A number of these virus diseases can also occur in cooler, temperate zones like Malta's, but in our case we are less at risk since we live on island. It is only through their bloodsucking habits that disease can be spread by mosquitoes.

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