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Desert Diary



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'Tis the season of the mosquito‐those blood-thirsty pests who haunt our every waking moment—and can even keep us from falling asleep. There are not too many tortures worse than hearing a mosquito buzzing in your room as you try to drift off! And although some of us may be "tastier" than others, we've all probably experienced the discomfort of an itchy bite.

But did you know that it's only the female mosquitoes that bite people? Males feed off plant juices, so what makes those little ladies such vampires? I suppose you could still blame the males, because the females need blood in order to lay their eggs—and of course the female needs a little help from the male in order to produce those eggs. After a female has been fertilized, she goes in search of fresh blood in order to pass on her nasty habits to the next generation! So next time you squash a mosquito, gleefully remind pen and ink yourself that you're stamping out a whole generation of her young!

Listen to the Audio (mp3 format) as recorded by KTEP, Public Radio for the Southwest.


Contributor: Kodi R. Jeffery, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.


Drawing of mosquito

Adult mosquito perched on the surface of the water, with a larva underneath the water surface. Drawing © 1999 by Zackery Zdinak; used with permission.



Borrow, D. J., and R. E. White. 1970. A field guide to insects, America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 404 pp.

Web Resources

Key to the Genera of North American Mosquitos