Mosquito (Theobaldia anulata)—N.A. Callow/EB Inc.

Any of 2,500 dipteran species in the family Culicidae. The females of most species require a blood meal to mature their eggs. Through bloodsucking, females of various species (genera Aedes, Anopheles, and Culex) transmit human diseases, including dengue fever, encephalitis, filariasis, malaria, yellow fever, and elephantiasis. The adult has a long proboscis, a slender, elongated body, and long, fragile legs. The males (and sometimes the females) feed on plant juices. The female's characteristic sound is made by the vibration of thin membranes on the thorax. The females lay their eggs on the surface of a body of usually stagnant water, and the eggs hatch into aquatic larvae (wrigglers). In the far north larvae pass the winter frozen into ice. The wrigglers are eaten by fishes and aquatic insects, the adults by birds and dragonflies. Control measures have included elimination of breeding sites, application of surface films of oil to clog the larvae's breathing tubes, and use of larvicides.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on mosquito, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up mosquito? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.