What Is the Difference Between a Female and a Male Mosquito?

Female mosquitoes bite people and can carry dangerous diseases.
Female mosquitoes bite people and can carry dangerous diseases. (Image: mosquito image by Daniel Wiedemann from Fotolia.com)

Most people have learned to be careful when they hear the buzz of a mosquito. At best, a bite means an itchy bump that can last for days, and in the worst case, it can be the precursor of a serious illness. Knowing the differences between male and female mosquitoes can help you determine if the one on your arm is a threat.

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Life Span

Male mosquitoes have an average life span of 10 days. Female mosquitoes can live for up to 100 days.

Mouth Physiology

Male mosquitoes have small mouth parts for drinking. Female mosquitoes have a proboscis that can pierce into the skin.

Antennae Physiology

Male mosquitoes have longer feathery antennae hairs that help in finding a mate. Female mosquitoes have short hairs on their antennae.

Diet

Male mosquitoes drink plant nectar. Female mosquitoes also drink plant nectar, but need to drink animal blood when it is time to lay eggs.

Warning

Female mosquitoes of certain species can carry diseases such encephalitis and malaria, which are transmitted to humans when the mosquito takes blood. Use an insect repellent containing DEET and clothing that adequately covers your skin to reduce the chances of being bitten.

References

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