KENT WOOD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KENT WOOD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Common mosquito completely full of blood after biting a leg. Only the female mosquito feeds on blood to nourish egg development. Otherwise male and female mosquitos feed on plant nectar. Mosquitos can carry diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and the West Nile virus. Disease carrying insects are known as vectors. After a mosquito has bitten its host, it injects saliva which is an anticoagulant allowing the insect to 'drink' the blood without it clotting. It is the reaction to the saliva that causes the swelling and itching of the bite.
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