Male mosquitoes used to suck, too, new research suggests – DNyuz

Male mosquitoes used to suck, too, new research suggests

We’ve all been bitten by a mosquito at one point or another. And, if you have, then that mosquito was a female, as male mosquitos don’t have strong enough mouth parts to pierce the skin and suck our blood. They survive instead by eating plant nectar. Recently discovered amber fragments suggest that the evolution of mosquitoes may have altered how they survive and what food they consume.

Mosquitos have survived for millions of years. These tiny bloodsucking bugs were preserved in amber millions of years before. This kind of discovery was the inspiration for the Jurassic Park book and film. It continues to help us learn more about creatures who lived millions of years ago.

According to a new paper published in the journal Current Biology, researchers recently discovered two male mosquito fossils that could teach us more about mosquito evolution as a whole. Modern male mosquitoes do not have the strength to penetrate skin. However, those found in amber fossils still had a piercing probescis as well as sharp mandibles.

This indicates that male mosquitoes survived in the past by feeding on the blood and flesh of living animals. Further, the researchers say that this discovery helps to narrow a “ghost-lineage gap” that we have for mosquitos right now.

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The fossils were retrieved from amber deposits believed to date back to around 130 to 125 million years ago. Researchers believe that these fossils will help us learn more about the evolution of mosquitoes and other insects. The amber deposits were found in Lebanon.

There are believed to be around 3,500 species of mosquito on Earth, and they are found everywhere except in Antarctica. Many species can carry pathogens that cause human disease, which has led some researchers to create genetically modified mosquitos that help cull the blood-sucking female mosquito that bite and suck blood.

Finding out that male mosquitos used to suck blood is intriguing, and could very well help us understand the way that these insects have evolved over the years, and how they came to be the way that they are now.

The post Male mosquitoes used to suck, too, new research suggests appeared first on BGR.