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What does a malaria mosquito look like?

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The malaria mosquito carries several infectious diseases, including the one that gives it its name. More than 10 species of malaria mosquitoes live in Russia, while there are 440 species of these insects in the world.

What are malaria mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes, being carriers of dangerous infections, attack their potential victims both indoors and outdoors. Anopheles maculipennis, or the common malaria mosquito, at first glance is unlikely to be distinguished from your usual mosquitoes. However, there are certain signs that allow you to quickly distinguish an anomaly mosquito from its ordinary relatives.

The list of these signs includes the following features:

  1. Unusual length of the hind limbs, which are almost twice as long as the body.
  2. Yellowish tint to the body.
  3. The presence of hairs on the abdomen, but the absence of scales characteristic of ordinary mosquitoes.
  4. The presence of antennae on the head, which are also absent in ordinary mosquitoes.
  5. Spot patterns on the wings of these insects.

Interestingly, the malaria mosquito sits on the surface at almost a right angle, due to the fact that its hind legs are longer than its front legs. Ordinary mosquitoes sit parallel to the surface.

Lifestyle and where you can find the malaria mosquito

Malaria mosquitoes are found almost everywhere on our planet, with the exception of Antarctica. However, it is important to know that malaria is transmitted at different rates in different places and the likelihood of infection may vary. Some places may be inhabited by malaria mosquitoes, but the risk of infection there is low.

Each species of Anopheles mosquito prefers its own special habitat. Some require plenty of salt water nearby, while others prefer fresh bodies of water. However, a common requirement for most malaria mosquitoes is a warm atmosphere. The optimal temperature for the life of a malaria mosquito is about 16 degrees Celsius.

Habitats of malaria mosquitoes may include:

  • Any types of reservoirs, regardless of their size and water level.
  • Availability of a stable source of food and nutrients for the development of future mosquito offspring.
  • Houses and other buildings, as well as livestock pens, especially in rural areas.

In Russia, malaria mosquitoes live mainly in various reservoirs where the water is standing and surrounded by a lot of vegetation. However, mosquitoes often prefer enclosed spaces to search for food.

Regions of Russia and the spread of malaria mosquitoes

cases of imported malaria from Russia's southern neighboring states, such as Azerbaijan and the Republic of Tajikistan, have been recorded.

Thus, regions of Russia that have borders with countries where malaria mosquitoes live are primarily under threat. However, cases of malaria can also occur in other regions, including southern European Russia, the Volga region, Dagestan, the Republic of Adygea and central Russia.

Russia is divided into 4 zones regarding the spread of malaria:

  1. An area where the number of cases does not exceed 4 per year and temperatures above 15 degrees Celsius lasts 1-2 months per year. The overall risk of contracting malaria is fluid.
  2. The zone where there are no more than 5 cases of infection per year and temperatures above 15 degrees Celsius lasts approximately 2-3 months. The risk of contracting malaria is low.
  3. An area where there are about 7 cases of malaria infection per year and temperatures above 15 degrees Celsius lasts 3-4 months. The risk of contracting malaria is moderate.
  4. Zone of stable risk of malaria infection. These regions include places where temperatures are above 15 degrees for 4-5 months of the year. In this zone, the number of infections reaches 11 per year.

Research into this danger continues, and some scientists note the dependence of the expansion of the habitat of malaria mosquitoes on global warming. The higher the air temperature, the further north the insect that spreads the malarial plasmodium moves.

The danger of the malaria mosquito

As the name suggests, Anopheles mosquitoes can transmit malaria, a dangerous infectious disease. However, they can also be carriers of other vector-borne diseases. The infection is transmitted through the introduction of saliva into the bite site when the mosquito drinks the blood of its victim.

Every year, up to half a billion people worldwide fall ill with malaria, approximately 1% of whom are bitten by mosquitoes. Most malaria deaths occur in tropical and subtropical regions, such as parts of Africa and South America.

However, a person can become infected with malaria not only through a mosquito bite, but also through a blood transfusion. The infection can also be passed from mother to child during pregnancy. It is important to distinguish between the different forms of this disease.

Transmission from mosquitoes occurs as follows: humans or various species of animals become infected when spores of the malaria parasite enter their blood or lymph. Even one mosquito bite can lead to infection. Then a complex process of development of pathogens begins in the body, and as a result, a severe infection develops. After a mosquito bite, the victim's blood becomes potentially dangerous to other people.

Scientists note that the activity of mosquitoes directly depends on temperature conditions. Heat affects the frequency of attacks by malaria mosquitoes on humans. It is worth noting that the heat limits change depending on the current time of year. In summer, mosquitoes of this species are active at temperatures of 16–31 degrees Celsius, while in autumn these figures drop to 12–27 degrees.

Nutrition of mosquitoes that carry malaria

This fact is directly related to the sexual specificity of insects. Males do not need blood; their food is the juices of various fruits and plants, posing no danger to humans. However, females feed on blood. They need protein and other blood components for the reproduction process.

Using their keen sense of smell, females detect a person or animal and begin actively feeding on blood. They are able to find accumulations of potential food at a distance of up to 1 km.

As for the larvae of this species, during their development they absorb nutrients from various organisms living near water bodies.

Reproduction of malaria vectors

Malaria mosquitoes have four main life cycle stages, which are similar to those of other mosquito species.

Their life cycle includes the following stages:

  1. Mating and laying eggs.
  2. A larva in the water.
  3. Transformation of a larva into a pupa.
  4. Mature mosquito, ready to breed.

For active growth and development, mosquitoes need a constant source of water. Without it they die very quickly. Under optimal development conditions, the aquatic stages of malaria mosquitoes last for approximately 2 days, followed by hatching from the eggs, usually occurring in the morning or evening.

Conclusion

To summarize, it is important to note that, despite the rarity of malaria, no one is completely immune from this disease. For a long time, people have faced difficulty in creating an effective vaccine. Therefore, if you live in areas where you can meet malarial mosquitoes, when going outside, you should provide yourself with appropriate means that, if not destroy the insects, then repel them.

Today, there are a number of effective medications that will help you avoid serious illness.

What is Malaria, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

F.A.Q.

How to identify a malaria mosquito?

Malaria mosquitoes have several distinctive features from ordinary mosquitoes. They have longer legs, larger body size and dark spots on the wings. They also have a narrower abdomen and wings, and the thoracic region is slightly pushed forward. A malaria mosquito may have small appendages or tentacles on its head that are not found on regular mosquitoes.

What is the danger of the malaria mosquito to humans?

As the name suggests, this type of mosquito often serves as a carrier of a dangerous disease - malaria. This infection, transmitted through a bite, is accompanied by fever due to increased temperature, body aches and headache. In addition, in some regions of Russia, malaria mosquitoes can carry the larvae of parasites such as Heartworm.

Where in Russia can you find malaria mosquitoes?

Unfortunately, malaria mosquitoes are common almost everywhere, with the exception of the polar regions. They can be found both in Moscow and the Moscow region, and in Western Siberia. However, according to experts, the situation with malaria in Russia is not critical. Although cases of infection do occur, they are isolated. However, malaria can sometimes be introduced by tourists, especially from Southeast Asia.

What happens if you are bitten by a malaria mosquito?

It is important to note that the malaria mosquito is not always the source of infection. In addition, only females feed on blood. The course of malaria depends on the individual characteristics of the person. Some may experience allergic reactions, others may experience malfunctions in various body systems.

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