About Mosquitoes

Rhode Island is home to 46 different species!

Life cycle

While both male and female mosquitoes need nectar for sustenance, only the female requires a blood meal, which is needed for egg production. Several days after ingesting the meal, a batch of up to 250 eggs is laid. Some species lay egg "rafts" on the water surface which hatch in two days. Other species deposit eggs above the water surface, around the edges of depressions. These eggs can remain viable for months and hatch when flooded.

The next stage after the egg hatches is the larval stage. During this stage, the larvae "wiggle" in the water and will go through four developmental stages where they will shed their skin or "molt". They filter-feed and breathe at the surface. The larval stages last from five days to several months, depending on several factors. Larvae then become the non-feeding pupal stage, which lasts for several days before adults emerge.

Aquatic Habitats

Immature stages can occur in a variety of aquatic habitats including salt marshes, freshwater swamps, woodland pools, retention ponds, abandoned swimming pools and artificial containers. For this reason, it is important that homeowners do not permit stagnant water to collect in backyard containers -- buckets, clogged gutters, forgotten glasses and pool covers are common examples -- as several important disease-transmitting species are readily produced in these habitats. One cup (8 oz.) of stagnant water can breed hundreds of mosquitoes.

Immature stages do not occur in flowing water, and are generally absent from permanent bodies of water, which tend to support a variety of predatory creatures. Finally, the immature stages of many species only occur in particular habitats. For example, species that occur in salt marshes do not occur in backyard artificial containers, and vice-versa.