RICHARD J. GREEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RICHARD J. GREEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Mosquito larvae (Aedes aegypti). Aedes aegypti, commonly known as the yellow fever mosquito, is a mosquito that can spread the dengue fever, Chikungunya and yellow fever viruses (and other diseases as well). The mosquito can be recognized by white markings, although other mosquitos may have only slightly different patterns. It can be found in the tropics and the southeastern United States. Mosquitos are insects which make up the family Culicidae. Eggs are laid on the surface of water where they hatch into larvae that live in the water, coming to the surface to breathe. The first larval stage is known as the first instar. As they grow they shed or moult their skin about four times, growing larger after each moulting. After the first molt they are second instars, then third, then fourth. Most larvae use siphon tubes going to the water surface for breathing and hang on or near the water surface. The larvae eat micro-organisms and organic matter in the water for food. Mosquito larvae, commonly called wigglers or wrigglers , must live in water from 7 to 14 days, depending on the water's temperature. At their last moult they may be up to 1 cm or half an inch long.
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