• Shruti GOCHHWAL

What to Know About the Malaria Causing Anopheles Mosquito

The female anopheles mosquito is responsible for one of the deadliest diseases in the world. According to the World Health Organization, every year, there are more than 200 million cases of malaria which result in more than 4,00,000 deaths.

There are more than 100 species of the anopheles mosquito which can transmit malaria. However, 40 species are actively involved in the transmission of the disease.

During Which Time of Day are They more likely to Bite?

A mosquito

Malaria causing mosquitoes only have to bite once to infect a person, Credits: Freepik


The female anopheles mosquito is active primarily between 5 pm and 10 pm and early morning between 4 am and 8 am. These mosquitoes can be active throughout the day. However, they are more likely to be active during the above-mentioned period. This is attributed to the temperature changes in the day.

Why Does the Anopheles Mosquito Bite?

Blood vessels

Human blood vessels are nutritious for the mosquito, Credits: Pixabay


The female anopheles mosquito reproduces rapidly. On average it lays up to 150 eggs every 2-3 days. These eggs require nourishment which comes from the blood of humans. Human blood is nutrient-rich for the mosquito.

This mosquito follows rapid and regular reproductive cycles which results in a massive increase in the number of mosquitos.

How Does the Anopheles Mosquito Spread Malaria?

Malaria is spread through the bite of the mosquito. The female anopheles mosquito possesses two sharp stylets which cut through the skin and penetrate it. It is in search of blood vessels. The mosquito can identify if it has found a blood vessel or not.

In case, a mosquito does not find the blood vessel, it repositions its body and penetrates the skin through another angle. During this bite, the female anopheles mosquito releases gametocytes into the bloodstream which cause malaria.

Why Do We Not Feel the Bite of the Female Anopheles Mosquito?

The female anopheles mosquito has two tubes in its proboscis. One of these tubes is to extract the blood vessels whereas the second is to inject its saliva. The saliva of the mosquito contains anti-inflammatory enzymes.

The combination of these enzymes affects the clotting process and does not allow the body to immediately feel the pain. The presence of these enzymes makes it easier for the mosquito to bite humans.

What is the Average Life Span?

An average lifespan of a malaria-causing mosquito is 2-3 weeks. However, in Ideal conditions where weather conditions and availability of food source suits them, their lifespan can increase.

Can You Differentiate Between a Female Anopheles Mosquito and Other Mosquitoes?

The female anopheles mosquito does have a distinct appearance but it is difficult to identify with the naked eye. Some people can identify it after killing the mosquito. The female anopheles mosquito is brown whereas other mosquitoes tend to be black.

Where are They Likely to Lay Eggs?

A bucket filled with rain water

Mosquitoes lay eggs in water, Credits: Pixabay


The mosquito lays eggs in areas with waterlogging. The water can be logged in artificial containers such as buckets, shells, and metal containers. During the rainy season, there are many areas where water logging occurs and it provides the perfect environment for the mosquitoes to lay eggs.

The water only needs to be logged for 3-4 days as eggs turn into adults in just one week.

What Can We Do to Protect Ourselves?

An illustration of a person spraying insecticide

Spraying insecticides kills mosquitoes, Credits: Public Domain Pictures


There are three things that a person can focus on to stop the growth of female anopheles mosquitoes.

Stop Them From Biting: The primary way of protecting ourselves from malaria and other mosquito caused diseases is to stop the bite. This can be done using mosquito repellants which can be applied on the skin.

If a mosquito is not allowed to bite a human then they do not get the blood they need to reproduce. This leads to a decrease in the number of mosquitos.

Using Insecticides: Insecticides are compounds which can kill insects. Many specialised insecticides are available which act on mosquitoes. Using insecticides is the most effective method of battling mosquitoes.

Prevent Water Logging: Standing water is a must for female anopheles mosquitoes to reproduce. If waterlogging is prevented then their frequency will reduce significantly which will decrease the number of cases of malaria.

Takeaway

Malaria is a dangerous disease which can be fatal. The fight against this disease can only be won if we are aware of it and take preventive measures. Your goal should be to prevent all mosquito bites.

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