This week’s What’s on the van? comes from Zoë Simmons, of the Museum’s Hope Entomological Collections.
The word mosquito (formed by mosca and diminutive ito) is from the Spanish or Portuguese for “little fly”. Approximately 3500 species of mosquito have been described to date. The females of a few species require a blood meal in order to lay fertile eggs but many more do not and of those that do, only a handful are disease vectors (a carrier of disease).
These few species however, are of global importance to the human race as they can transmit diseases such as Yellow Fever and Malaria. As a consequence, the mosquito has been dubbed ‘the most dangerous animal in the world’. A large amount of scientific research has been put into combating mosquitoes and the diseases that they carry, but some of the most important information has come from entomologists who have studied mosquito behaviour and lifecycles in detail. From this, scientists have been able to get a better and more complete understanding of the species and thus develop more effective methods of eradication and disease management.