Aedes aegypti is commonly referred to as a Yellow fever mosquito. It is a well-known vector of yellow fever virus, dengue virus, Marayo virus, Zika virus, and chikungunya virus. West Nile virus, Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis, and Murray Valley encephalitis virus transmission may also happen via the bites of Aedes aegypti.
The species was described for the first time back in the 18th century by Fredric Hasselquist.
The Aedes aegypti mosquitos (also known as “Yellow Fever mosquito”) originate from African region and are currently found in Africa, southern part of the USA, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Indian Islands and Northern Australia, in limited areas in Europe with tropical and subtropical climate (Mediterranean and Black Sea areas).
The distribution of Aedes aegypti is limited due to the inability of the mosquitos’ eggs to survive during the cold winter. However, the mosquitos have spread throughout the world during the past 25 years.
The mosquito is a small arthropod with white-silver stripes all over the body and the legs with black dorsal part of the body.
The insects acquire viruses when they suck the blood of the infected person and then can transmit them while biting another person. Most importantly, only female mosquitos bite humans as they require blood (as a source of protein) to mature the eggs, therefore, only female Aedes aegypti may be a vector for viral diseases. 5-12 days after the mosquito bit an infected person the virus is found in the salivary glands of the insect, so the saliva helps the virus to spread while a person is being bitten.
These insects bite preferably humans (although they may also bite domestic animals). They are attracted by ammonia, carbon dioxide, lactic acid and octanol which are produced by the human body. It is considered that these arthropods tend to feed in dark, shady areas, at dusk and dawn or during the day when it is cloudy.
The typical bite sites include elbows, ankles and feet. The bites are painless, so they may even not be noticed.
The peak activity of Aedes aegypti is observed from August to October, although in some regions they remain active throughout the whole year.
These arthropods are able to thrive in populated regions with poor sanitary conditions and in moist areas where larvae of Aedes aegypti habitate. The insects breed close to the stagnant water and in human houses may thrive in vases, bathrooms and in toilet tanks.
Aquatic habitats of the mosquitos such as water storages, containers collecting rainwater, etc. are related to the outbreaks of the mosquito-borne virus diseases.
Approximately 3 days after feeding Aedes aegypti lay eggs on the wet walls of water containers which later turn into larvae when the containers are filled with water. Then after 10 days, the larvae change into pupae which after a few days (1-2) become adult mosquitos. The entire process takes from 8 to 10 days.
Adult Aedes aegypti live from two to four weeks. The eggs may remain viable for a year in dry areas.
It was estimated that 1 adult mosquito is able to lay from 100 to 200 eggs at once and may reproduce up to 5 times.
The Aedes aegypti cannot fly for long distances, usually not more than 400 meters, so they tend to stay close to their breeding sites.
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