Wonderful Wacky Water Critters
This interesting insect goes through four distinct stages: an egg stage which can spend the winter in dry soil and hatch when spring rains fill the puddles and small ponds; a larva stage which spends its life upside down breathing through a tube on its rear end; a pupa stage which swims but does not eat; and an adult stage that we are all too familiar with. Ouch, scratch, itch.
Watch the larva move; when it is disturbed it races to the bottom of the pond. The mosquito larva eats microscopic plants, animals or organic debris with brushes surrounding its mouth. The pupal stage is called a "tumbler" and is almost all head. The adult female requires a blood meal to develop her eggs. No large animal is free from these pests. Some female mosquitos make life miserable for animals such as deer, people or squirrels, while others torment frogs and turtles. The adult male lives on plant juices and flower nectar. Next time you swat at them remember, these critters are important food for fish, frogs and birds.
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