Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Terrors of the Night



The mild, wet weather seems to have brought an influx of mosquitoes into the house, attracted to the light and entering via windows left open after sunset. Strange how you don't notice them until you get into bed, isn't it? Then the big question is whether it's a biting species of mosquito or a more benign one............ 


































 After consulting Keith Snow's Mosquitoes (Richmond Publishing Naturalists' Handbooks No. 14) I'm inclined to think that this one, with its distinctive black and white striped legs, is Orthopodomyia pulcripalpis. He mentions that the females appear to feed on birds - so it's probably safe to go to sleep with one of these in the room - but he does add that "Little is known of adults' ecology and behaviour..." so that isn't completely reassuring. There's another rather similar species called Culiseta annulata which, he says, are "often found in houses where they feed readily on the occupants".
For some high magnification images of the beautiful eyes of mosquitoes, click here.

4 comments:

  1. I've been led to believe that the males do not bite, only the females, and also that the males have feathered antennae. Though whether either of these assertions are accurate enough, to ensure a good night's sleep, is open to debate.

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  2. I thought they all bite.
    Still prefer them outside lol

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  3. I think you're right Graeme - the females need a lood meal before they can lay eggs....

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  4. I probably should have swatted this instead of letting it escape Keith - after more careful scrutiny of the ID keys I'm 95% sure that it's the blood sucking C. annulata. Maybe the spiders in the house will get it.....

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