Of all the insects, the mosquito (family Culicidae) undoubtedly causes the most suffering, both to humans and to animals. Not only do mosquitoes disturb and annoy us with their persistent biting, but many species act as distributors for some of our most dangerous diseases.
Malaria, yellow fever, dengue, encephalomyelitis, filariasis, and other afflictions result from the microscopic protozoans which spend part of their existence as harmful parasites in man or animals, another part, noninjuriously, in mosquitoes, and a third part, again harmfully, in a host similar to the first. The slightest bite of a mosquito carrying a supply of germs acquired from some individual already suffering from one of these diseases is sufficient to start a new case.
We all think we are familiar with mosquitoes, but only when we have closely examined one or more species under a good microscope do we realize how beautiful they are.
Even the beak of the female, for only the female bites, is an exquisite apparatus, more perfect than any man-made instrument for the same purpose could be. The feathery antennae of the males are lovely in the extreme. The wings are decorated with scales fastened to the veins in a very exact manner that differs with each species. The bodies are also covered with scales, each species having its characteristic design.
The larvae are water animals, each kind living under certain particular conditions, which are as varied as the number of species.