Female mosquitoes are the only ones that suck blood, and they don't do it for survival — they do it because they need blood to produce eggs. Mammalian blood provides nutrients such as iron and protein that the mosquito needs to produce eggs and that it can't get from its normal food, nectar. After a female mosquito has fed, it takes only a few days before it can lay eggs and start looking for blood again. Male mosquitoes live only off nectar and other sugar sources.
More facts about mosquitoes:
- The word "mosquito" actually originated as the Spanish word for "little fly."
- Mosquitoes have a very short lifespan. They take about 40 days to develop into adults — though in some areas this can happen in as few as five days — but most mosquitoes live for only a week or two. Males tend to die earlier than females, which can live for a month or longer in captivity.
- One type of mosquito actually eats other mosquitos' larvae and sometimes kills them just for fun. Mosquitos from the Toxorhynchites genus have been successfully used to reduce mosquito populations in several areas.
- Mosquitoes have a powerful sense of smell. They have 72 types of odor receptors on their antennae, and at least 27 of those are used for detecting chemicals in sweat, such as nonanal and octenal.