Jabulani Ranger Dohan Scheepers, delves into the world of the Anopheles Mosquito for National Insect Week.
This particular mosquito is common in the Hoedspruit area of South Africa, where Jabulani is situated.
These mosquitos, (also referred to as the “marsh mosquitos“), are mainly found in and around swampy areas, or any body of water, as that is the perfect location for the mosquito to lay its eggs and increase its numbers.
Many people don’t realise that a mosquito mostly targets it’s next victim from sensing the carbon dioxide in their breath, which is sensed by their “maxillary palp”.
And we all know when we have been targeted, when you hear that annoying little buzzing sound as we struggle to fall asleep; yet the biggest concern when it comes to these insects is the threat of possible malaria caused by parasites, primarily Plasmodium Falciparum or Plasmodium Vivax, which can be deadly if gone untreated.
One of the questions we as rangers are often asked, is if it is necessary to take anti-malaria tablets. The answer is yes, rather act on the side of caution. Even though we are in a low risk area, it is always worthwhile being proactive in taking precautions. Or alternatively, ensure you use a good mosquito repellent on your skin.
Female Anopheles mosquitoes pick up the parasites by feeding on infected humans. The parasites develop in the mosquito’s body for 10 to 18 days and are then passed on through the mosquito’s saliva during feeding.
Males have a much shorter life span than females and do not pose the threat of disease to humans. The male uses its tubular mouth piece, or feeding tube, to drink nectar from some of the many flowers in this area.
This makes the female Anopheles mosquito the deadly diva of the insect kingdom.