Mosquito Biology

The extensive habitats of the Peel Harvey Estuary provide ideal conditions for salt marsh mosquitos. It has been estimated that up to 600 hectares of saltmarsh habitat across the Peel region may support mosquito breeding.

Facts

  • The adult female mosquito can lay hundreds of eggs during its short lifespan
  • The eggs can remain dormant for long periods of time until they come in contact with a water source being rain or high tides
  • Once hatched numbers are in excess of 1000 larvae per square meter across breeding sites 
  • Treatments are timed to have the greatest impact on mosquito numbers
  • There will always be a percentage of mosquitos that escape treatment that maintain the population
  • Total eradication is not possible

Life cycle

Eggs
  • Eggs are deposited on vegetation 
  • Eggs from some species can survive long periods of dry conditions
  • Once they come into contact with water they hatch often in batches
Larva
  • The aquatic stage of lifecycle, without water this stage cannot be completed 
  • Larva grow and moult through four stages
  • Water temperatures and other factors can dictate how quickly they Develop 
  • During warm conditions development can take as little as 4-5 days
Pupa
  • The non-feeding stage
  • The adult forms in the pupa casing for 2-3 days before the casing splits
Adult
  • Once emerged the adult leaves the breeding site
  • Males - have a short life span and only feed on plant juices and nectars
  • Males do not seek blood or transmit disease
  • Females – will mate and then seek blood to produce eggs

Tides

The unpredictable tides in the Peel Region provides unique mosquito breeding cycles

  • Tides and weather are monitored daily
  • Tides of 0.76m in the Peel Inlet usually start a new mosquito lifecycle
  • New breading sites can be predicted by tidal movement
  • Treatments are planned around tidal conditions for best possible kill rates

Several species are found in Peel Region and breed in a broad range of weather conditions and breeding habitats including:

  • Stagnant or slow moving water
  • Saltmarsh wetlands
  • Storm water drains
  • Catchment areas

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