Mosquitoes belong to the insect order Diptera, family Culicidae. The Diptera includes true flies, gnats, horseflies, blackflies, midges, crane flies, and others. Approximately 167 species of mosquitoes belonging to 13 genera are found in the United States; of these, 80 species occur in Florida. It is estimated that there are more than 2500 species of mosquitoes worldwide. Mosquitoes can be identified by noting that as all true flies they have only one pair of functional wings (most insects have two), a long, piercing proboscis, and scales on the veins of their wings.
Mosquitoes are some of the most versatile organisms on earth. They can reproduce in virtually any natural or man-made deposit of water, and have been found in mines deep below the surface, in mountain peaks, in highly polluted water bodies, in snow pools, or potholes.
With the prevalence of West Nile virus, mosquitoes seem to have replaced bed bugs as the most talked about insect recently. West Nile is a virus that is harbored in bird populations and transmitted to mosquitos that feed on birds. West Nile is transmitted to humans when a mosquito carrying the virus bites a human. Many deaths have been attributed to this mosquito-borne virus. Here are some resources to help you, your families, and your schools be prepared.
Although mosquitoes can be annoying and some are serious health threats, they can play an important role in natural communities, particularly as filter feeders in aquatic communities, and as a food source in both aquatic and terrestrial food chains.