Mosquito Anatomy

By Dona Welch / December 28, 2019

Mosquito Anatomy

Do you know that the female mosquito anatomy is different from that of a male? Not that we can tell them apart while they are in flight. But knowing facts about the mosquito anatomy can help us understand and deal with these insects better.

Generally, the mosquito anatomy doesn’t differ much from that of other insects. They have bodies which are divided into three major parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen. The head of the mosquito has two large eyes consisting of several lenses which are all pointed to different directions. But despite the size and the number of lenses, the mosquitoes do not use their sight to find their victims. Rather, it has chemical sensors that react to the carbon dioxide emitted by their potential prey.

The mosquito anatomy further consists of two antennae on the head act which act as guides, giving the mosquitoes’ a feel of their direction. Mosquitoes have a proboscis, or a tube-like funnel mouth, that can only take in liquid. The proboscis acts like a straw in sipping plant juices and sucking in blood.

A short and thin neck links the head to the thorax. The latter is shaped like a triangle that has scales forming different patterns which scientists use as basis in identifying mosquitoes. Like all insects’, mosquito anatomy consists of a hard exoskeleton and six jointed legs. Tiny claws can be seen on the tips of each leg, which gives the mosquito balance when hanging or climbing.

Mosquito anatomy also includes a pair of scale-covered wings which are located on the thorax. These wings beat from 500 to 1,000 times in a single second, creating the buzz-like sound. Some mosquitoes have long and thin abdomen, while others have rounded ones. The difference in structure of the mosquito anatomy helps scientists distinguish the types of species. The mosquitoes breathe through the spiracles located at the side of their bodies. The thorax has two pairs of spiracles, while the abdomen has eight. Air passes through the spiracles and is distributed throughout the body through tubes.

The female mosquito anatomy is distinctively different from its male counterpart. Female antennae are not as hairy as the male’s are. The hairy antennae of the males have sound receptors that they use to track down the wing beat sounds made by the females just before mating. The female mosquito anatomy has sensory receptors found on their antennae and palps which are used to follow heat and odor tracks leading them to their prey. It takes about fifty seconds for the females to insert its fascicle (teeth) into the skin and around two and a half minutes for them to suck blood. This actually leaves you plenty of time to swat them.