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What’s the most dangerous animal ever?

Updated on February 9, 2011

Did you know that half the human beings who have ever lived, about as many as 47 billion people, have been killed by female mosquitoes? (The males only bite plants.)

These little monsters carry more than a hundred potentially fatal diseases, including yellow fever, encephalitis, dengue fever, malaria, elephantiasis and filariasis. These diseases kill one person every 12 seconds every single day.

The Discovery of Mosquitoes

What is amazing is that nobody had a clue that mosquitoes posed a danger until the end of the 19th century, until the time of the British doctor Sir Patrick Manson, also known as "Mosquito" Manson, who proved in 1877 that mosquito bites were responsible for elephantiasis.

17 years later, it occurred to the good doctor that mosquitoes might also be responsible for malaria disease. Therefore, he prompted his student Ronald Ross, a young doc based in India, to test his hypothesis regarding malaria.

So it happened that Ross became the first person to describe how the Plasmodium parasite is transmitted through the saliva of female mosquitoes. He used birds to test his theory, but Manson had a better idea. He infected his own son with malaria using mosquitoes transported in the diplomatic bag from Rome to show the truth of his theory.

Ronald Ross got the Nobel Prize in Physiology in 1902; while Manson was knighted and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. he went on to be the founder of the London School of Tropical Medicine.

Ugly Mosquito full of Blood
Ugly Mosquito full of Blood

Mosquito Facts

  • Today, there exist about 2,500 known species of mosquito, of which 400 are members of the Anopheles family. Out of this 400, 40 species are capable of transmitting malaria disease.
  • Female mosquitoes suck blood to use it to mature their eggs, which they lay on water. After hatching into aquatic larvae, or wrigglers, the pupae of mosquitoes, called tumblers, actively swim about unlike those of most other insects.
  • Male mosquitoes hum at a higher pitch than females: they can be sexually enticed by the note of a B-natural tuning fork.
  • Female mosquitoes are drawn to their hosts by carbon dioxide, moisture, body heat, milk, and movement, therefore pregnant women and generally sweaty people run a higher risk of being bitten.

Mosquito means "small fly" in Spanish and Portuguese. Their motto is:

IF YOU THINK YOU ARE TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, TRY SLEEPING IN A CLOSED ROOM WITH A MOSQUITO.

Do you like mosquitoes?

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    • videogameviking profile image

      videogameviking 

      7 years ago from California

      Interesting article! I used to get bit all of the time as a kid, and I knew they were dangerous, but I didn't know that carbon dioxide, moisture, body heat, and milk drew them to their hosts.

    • Haunty profile imageAUTHOR

      Haunty 

      7 years ago from Hungary

      Hey Ardie! :) I don't think I've ever heard of anyone who died or got sick after a mosquito bite either in Europe or in America. I guess most of the casualties happen in Africa where mosquitoes are indeed capable of transmitting these diseases. As a kid, I was covered with bites all the time like all the other kids were. I think it's just part of the summer.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 

      7 years ago from Neverland

      I had no idea mosquitos were SO dangerous!! No wonder everyone was up in arms this summer. Our entire neighborhood was so infested kids would come to class and look like they had chicken pox - but it was mosquito bites! There were even times I couldn't let my kids out to play without covering them head to toe in spray. If I had known just HOW dangerous these little gals were, I never would've let the kids out at all. Thank you for putting this information together so I can take more precautions next year.

    • Komst profile image

      Komst 

      8 years ago

      I am agree even they are small but They are killer

    • sanfayedr profile image

      sanfayedr 

      8 years ago from Wherever I am at the time.

      Having had Dengue Fever twice I abhor mosquitoes and have decided tropical countries are not for me.

      I did however learn a lot about mosquito control. Hmm maybe a hub on this!

    • smackins1974 profile image

      smackins1974 

      8 years ago from UK

      great hub, very interesting facts.

      Sarah

    • chirls profile image

      chirls 

      8 years ago from Indiana (for now)

      Interesting hub! I'm fascinated by this topic. Although I'm sad to learn that since I'm always being bitten by mosquitos and I'm not pregnant, that must mean I'm a generally sweaty person. lol

    • PR Morgan profile image

      PR Morgan 

      8 years ago from Sarasota Florida

      Living in FLA, I have learned to despise mosquitos...but they must serve some purpose...bat food!

    • tlpoague profile image

      Tammy 

      8 years ago from USA

      I can't stand the mosquitos, they love to eat me up. Interesting information on them though. I will have to keep this in mind the next time I hear one buzzing by my head.

    • Stan Fletcher profile image

      Stan Fletcher 

      8 years ago from Nashville, TN

      Mosquitos are a mystery to me. Why are they here? I absolutely despise the little buggers. They're great for ruining otherwise incredible camping trips. And I hate smearing the nasty repellent on almost as bad as getting bit. Kill 'em all I say. Great hub.

    • To Start Again profile image

      Selina Kyle 

      8 years ago

      I hate mosquitos :( I'm allergic to them and get huge whelps when I get bitten. it isn't pretty.

    • webguyonline profile image

      webguyonline 

      8 years ago

      thanks for this great info. mosquitoes are really harmful and dangerous for humans as well as for animals. and i think i can add this info: mosquitoes usually multiply during rainy days.

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