Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest species on the planet, except for Iceland they are present in every other country in the world. Their time on earth varies from specie to specie and is largely determined by their environment. It is seen that female mosquitoes can lay eggs for the rest of their lives by mating only once. Males are known to feed on nectar and plant juice and survive for 1-2 weeks. Females, on the other hand, survive for a month or less and feed on nectar and blood when pregnant. They can lay 50-500 eggs in their first reproduction cycle and can lay up to 3,000 eggs in one lifetime.
The Lifespan of Mosquitoes:
There are various mosquito species around the world; they all share different reproduction processes and life cycles. It is seen that some mosquito species can survive only in the summers, and as the winter approaches, they die, even though their eggs live through the winter weather and hatch in spring. Some other species tend to hibernate during the cold, and their lifespan as an adult mosquito lasts for months. Mosquitoes generally prefer warm and humid climates, which explains why global warming increases mosquito breeding. It is noticed that mosquitoes can sustain between 50 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The adult males survive on nectar, similar foods, and plant juices; their lifespan is about a week, long enough to mate and reproduce with the females. Females, on the other hand, require the nutrients from human or animal blood to mature eggs. This is the reason they bite humans or animals. The lifespan of the feminine members is long and lasts up to a month or two. But they may also die sooner, get slapped, blown around, or eaten by predators.
Mosquito Life Cycle – Explained in stages
An estimated 3,000 species of mosquitoes live around the globe. The mosquito’s life cycle is broadly divided into four stages. The length of the mosquito life cycle varies from species to species and is largely affected by climatic changes like temperature, moisture, etc. However, all mosquitoes share the same life-cycle comprising of the egg, larva, pupa, and adult. These stages are explained below in detail.
1. Egg (The first stage):
The female mosquitoes lay eggs after mating with their male members. They can lay around 3,000 eggs in one lifetime, although many don’t survive that long. They do not require much water and mostly lay eggs in any standing or slow-flowing water. So a slight disturbance in the water might kill the eggs completely. The eggs lay dormant throughout the winter season until they finally hatch. The mosquitoes which inhabit the houses are usually found in ditches, sewage lines, or abandoned tires as they require water that has been left standing for less than a week to lay eggs. Many species tend to lay as many as hundreds of eggs side by side and stacked making layers onto each other. It forms a raft that floats on the water. It takes about a week for mosquito eggs to hatch, but most eggs hatch between 1-3 days after being exposed to water. Also, if the female mosquitoes are deprived of blood, they might not be able to reproduce.
2. Larvae (The second stage):
After hatching, the eggs convert into larvae within 1-2 days, which are about one-fourth an inch in length and look like hairy worms. The larvae firstborn are aquatic, and sometimes they get eaten by fishes before they mature. This is why it is suggested to breed some fishes in case you own a pond in your backyard. The larvae float close to the surface, and slowly learn to breathe near the surface of the water body. They feed upon algae, bacteria, and other organic material. The amount of time between the larva and pupa stage usually lasts for a few days. Larvae in this duration molt four times, growing larger with each molt. After the final molt, they grow half an inch in length. Most species also develop a siphon tube that extends from their abdomen. Most larvae breathe through air tubes. Mosquitoes cannot survive without water when they are in Larvae and pupae stage.
3. Pupae (The third stage):
The lifespan of larvae ends within five to ten days. Food availability and other surrounding conditions, even predators, play a major role in the process of metamorphosis. The pupae can be easily spotted on the surface of the water. It takes 7-10 days for the larvae to transform into the pupae. When the mosquitoes reach their pupa form, they avoid any motion and quit feeding or molting as they prefer to rest. Then a fully developed mosquito emerges as an adult out of its pupae case. The adult then stands upon the water to dry its wings and launches a flight. Adult female mosquitoes then start seeking an animal to feed upon.
4. Adult (The last stage):
The adult, with legs and wings forming, then come to the surface and rests there on the top of the water to dry off. The mosquitoes rest on the water’s surface until its legs and wings are strong enough to support it. Once their wings are fully dried, the adult flies in the open sky and seek blood meals to continue to mature. They then eventually mate with the opposite sex and lay eggs to start the cycle all over again. Males live for a couple of weeks, but females can live for almost a month or more. The males feed on nectar and fruit juices, whereas, as mentioned earlier, the females feed on blood to mature their eggs. After finding blood, the female lays the eggs and starts the cycle all over again.
The metamorphosis of mosquitoes depends on a lot of factors. And, it can range from just four days to as long as a month. It varies depending on the mosquito species and the environment. This entire life cycle of a female usually lasts between 42 – 56 days. Whereas, the male mosquitoes survive only up till 7-10 days.