Mosquitoes are insects that are famous for carrying many dangerous diseases, including yellow fever, Zika virus, the Nile disease, and malaria, even though only a few breeds of these insects are harmful to humans.
To the naked eye, there is virtually no difference between a female and a male mosquito. However, differences exist, and at the end of this article, you will know what differentiates a male mosquito from a female one.
Comparing a Male Mosquito and a Female Mosquito
|Feeds on sugary fluids like plant nectar and juices
|The same diet as males but also feeds on human blood to gain protein to produce eggs
|Feathery, and not strong enough to pierce human skin
|Thin and needle-like to pierce human skin, and suck blood
|Flap their wings about 350-550 times per second
|Flap their wings about 450-700 times per second
|Not usually around humans, except to mate
|Found around human beings
|Produces sperm during mating
|Produce, fertilize, carry and lay eggs
The Key Differences Between a Male Mosquito vs a Female Mosquito
The key differences between a male mosquito and a female mosquito are physical appearance, buzzing sounds, personalities and roles, and lifespan.
Let’s explore these differences in detail!
Male vs Female Mosquito: Physical Appearance
There are physical differences between the male and the female mosquito. However, you cannot notice them with a naked eye; you will need a magnifying glass. One difference is in their proboscis, which they use to feed. For males, the proboscis is feathery and bushy and is also not strong enough to pierce the human skin. However, for the females, their proboscis is thinner and more needle-like to pierce the human skin and suck blood.
Another difference in the physical appearance of the male and the female mosquitoes is in their antennas. Male mosquitoes have feathery and bushier antennas than females. The female antennas are usually plainer than that of the males. Furthermore, males have a larger Johnston’s organ in their antennas than females. Males use the hair on their antennas to detect a female for mating.
The last major physical difference between the male mosquito and the female mosquito is in their size. Female mosquitoes are generally larger than the males, even though they are both pretty small creatures.
Male vs Female Mosquitoes: Buzzing Sounds
While both sexes make buzzing sounds, there is a subtle difference. The females give up a far higher pitch for their buzz sounds than the males, though they flap their wings at a lower frequency. Female mosquitoes flap their wings around 350-550 times per second, while the males flap their wings about 450-700 times per second.
Interestingly, the sounds made by the female mosquitoes attract the males. In fact, they pay attention to listening for it to know when a female is around.
Male vs Female Mosquitoes: Personalities and Roles
Other differences between male and female mosquitoes exist in their personalities and roles. Females, as a result of their need to take in human blood, are usually found around human beings. This means that female mosquitoes most likely make those noises that irritate your ear at night. On the other hand, male mosquitoes are out on their own, away from humans, except when mating with females.
The singular role of the male mosquito is to release the sperm during mating with the females. The females have the more complex roles of developing, fertilizing and laying eggs.
Male vs Female Mosquitoes: Lifespan
Both female and male mosquitoes have pretty much the same lifecycle from egg to the pupae stage. However, once they become adults, the females generally live longer. Male mosquitoes usually live for just a week or under a week, and then they are gone. Their entire lifespan generally consists of finding mating partners.
On the other hand, female mosquitoes can live as long as four weeks, with some even living for a couple of months. They need the extra time to produce and lay their eggs.
What is the Life Cycle of Both Male and Female Mosquitoes?
Irrespective of sex, mosquitoes of the same species go through the same developmental process and span before they become adults. An adult female mosquito lays about 200 eggs in stagnant water, and after a day or two, they hatch to become larvae (or wrigglers because of their movement in water). At the larva stage, they can’t fly, and they need air to breathe. You can easily kill them off at the stage by pouring a thin film of oil on the water that prevents them from breathing.
The larvae go through 4 developmental stages before arriving at the pupa stage. In the pupa stage, they look like mini shrimps and swim erratically to avoid predators. As such, they are sometimes referred to as tumblers. Within a day or two of being in the pupa stage, they become full-grown adults and fly away. The entire life span for this developmental stage depends on the species, but it has been estimated at 7-10 days.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Surachai Pung/Shutterstock.com
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