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Answer: b. Only female mosquitoes bite. They feed on blood to get the proteins they need to produce eggs. NIAID supports research to learn how female mosquitoes transform blood into eggs. This information may help us figure out how to prevent egg production and thereby reduce the number of mosquitoes.
Answer: c. Both male and female mosquitoes feed on plant nectar for their own nourishment. Females also feed on blood so they can make eggs, which they lay in standing water.
Answer: e. Colors, heat, smells—and more. Mosquitoes find people using several complex sensory systems. Dark colors, body heat and smells from body chemicals such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid have all attract mosquitoes. They can smell carbon dioxide from 75 feet away. NIAID-supported researchers are examining mosquito sensory systems in search of new ways to stop mosquitoes from finding people.
Answer: d. Mosquitoes transmit West Nile Virus and dengue parasites. Influenza is a virus which is spread through droplets from person to person.
Answer: c. Mosquito saliva is composed of many chemicals that cause an itchy immune reaction after they have fed. While feeding through its drinking straw-like mouth, chemicals in the saliva stop blood from clotting.
Answer: a. True. There are more than 3,000 species of mosquitoes worldwide. NIAID supports research around the world on mosquitoes that spread human diseases. For example, NIAID-funded investigators are looking at the biology of mosquito species in North and South America, Africa, India and Asia.
Answer: d. Malaria. Of the thousands of species of mosquitoes, only those in the genus Anopheles transmit the malaria-causing Plasmodium parasite to humans. About 225 million people suffer malaria worldwide annually, resulting in about 781,000 deaths each year, primarily in young children and pregnant women in Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Fighting malaria and reducing its devastating toll is one of NIAID’s highest priorities.
Answer: e (a, c and d.) Female mosquitoes find their human blood meals by detecting carbon dioxide emitted when people exhale. NIAID-funded researchers recently identified three types of odor molecules that disrupt the carbon dioxide-sensing machinery of mosquitoes. One molecule switches the mosquitoes’ olfactory nerves “on” for prolonged periods, one turns the olfactory nerves “off,” and a third type mimics carbon dioxide. Read more about this finding here.
Read more about the bacteria that renders mosquitoes resistant to the malaria parasite here.
Answer: e. all of the above. Through basic and applied research, NIAID is working to identify new ways to prevent mosquito-borne diseases. For example, NIAID scientists and collaborators are exploring innovative approaches for malaria control including a genetically modified fungus that blocks the development of malaria parasites inside mosquitoes and an insecticide designed to kill the larvae of disease-spreading mosquitoes. In addition, NIAID scientists are developing and testing vaccines to prevent malaria and mosquito-borne viral infections such as dengue, West Nile, and chikungunya.
Read more about the genetically modified fungus that kills malaria-causing parasites here.
Answer: d. None of the above—that was a trick question. Lyme disease is spreading in the U.S., but is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted by ticks. NIAID also supports research in tick-borne diseases like Lyme and Babesiosis.
Read about Lyme and other tickborne disease research.
Last Updated February 03, 2012
Last Reviewed August 11, 2011