Photo of the Week: Mosquito Pollinators

07-23-2015 // NWF Staff

Elephant Mosquito on Lazy Susan

July 23rd is National Mosquito Day! this day is commemorated by learning all about mosquitoes - both the good and the bad.  Mosquitoes have been around for 79 million years, with 3,500 species found throughout the world today. Adult females lay eggs in water, which can be a salt-marsh, a lake, a puddle, or an artificial water container such as a plastic bucket.

Most people think of mosquitoes only as pests, but they have another niche in the ecosystem - they pollinate flowers.  Male mosquitoes never bite, and the females need the protein in blood only to produce eggs, so the normal diet for adult mosquitoes is nectar from plants. Though they don't gather pollen like bees, as they fly from flower to flower, they also carry pollen. 

Photographer Howard Cheek took this photo of an elephant mosquito on a lazy susan flower in his backyard.  Elephant mosquitoes are one of the largest known species of mosquito and among the few kinds that do not consume blood ever. They are carnivorous at the larval stage, eating the larvae of other mosquitoes, but subsist on nectar and other carbohydrates from plants.  The Texas resident used a Canon 1D Mark III camera with a 150mm lens and a 1.4x teleconverter.

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