Malaria Mosquito – The Anopheles Mosquito

History:

The Malaria Mosquito scientifically called the Anopheles Mosquito. This genus was first named by J.W. Meigen in 1818. The name Anopheles translates from Greek, “an” meaning “not” and “ophelos” meaning “profit”, meaning “useless”.

Malaria originates from Africa but we find on every continent now. Over 200 million people infected every year. We attribute the Anopheles mosquito with being the reason that Malaria came to America 200 to 500 years ago. There entrance into America is dated around the time we brought slave ships here from Africa in the sixteenth and nineteenth century. Since then they have continued to have a dominant presence across most of America. The Malaria Mosquito is not as common as the Aedes Aegypti or Albopictus mosquito (this attributes to the aggressive nature of the Aedes larvae which can kill other larvae) but is still one of the three primary mosquito species that dominate America.

Life Cycle:

A full description of the life cycle: Aedes Albopictus blog.

The life cycle of the Malaria Mosquito is much the same as any other mosquito, with few variations:

  • Larvae of the Anopheles mosquito do not have breathing tubes but instead must lie parallel to the surface of the water to breathe through spiracles.
  • Unlike other mosquitoes, they cannot breed in stagnant or polluted water. This mosquito instead prefers to breed in clean water habitats like marshes or swamps.
  • The female Anopheles mosquito will feed on both cattle and humans to get her blood and develop her eggs. They do not prefer one over the other.

Anatomy:

For a full anatomy breakdown of the mosquito visit out Mosquito Anatomy Blog.

There are a few designations that separate the Malaria Mosquito from other mosquitoes. They are:

  • The sensory palps of the Anopheles mosquito are as long as the proboscis.
  • On the wings, they have blocks of black and white scales.
  • When the Anopheles mosquito lands to rest it sticks its abdomen into the air instead of laying parallel to the surface like other mosquitoes.

Diseases:

The Anopheles mosquito is responsible for carrying and transmitting Malaria. This mosquito manages over one million deaths each year from transmitting Malaria. These numbers make Mosquitoes the #1 Killer in the World.

The Aedes mosquito as discussed in the Aedes Aegypti and Aedes Albopictus blogs handles Dengue Fever, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and Yellow Fever (Ae. Aegypti transmits Dengue and Yellow Fever, and Albopictus transmits Dengue and Equine Encephalitis).

The Culex mosquito is responsible for carrying and transmitting West Nile virus.

Malaria:

The Anopheles mosquito is the primary carrier of Malaria. Once a female mosquito picks up the malaria parasite it must first develop inside the mosquito before she can pass it on to another host. The primary factors that relate to the full development of the parasite are temperature and humidity (like many other viruses, higher temperature speeds up development), and the survival of the mosquito long enough for it to develop. The parasite takes anywhere from 10 to 21 days to develop inside the mosquito before it can transmit it to a human host. Unlike human hosts, the mosquito does not suffer from the presence of the parasite.