The slender and well-proportioned body, the colorful and iridescent appearance make the Amazon mosquito the “queen” of the mosquito world, the hunting object of photographers and scientific collectors.
Scientist and photographer Gil Wizen (Canadian) spent months in the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle just to find and take beautiful pictures of this unique mosquito.
The photo was taken by Gil Wizen, who spent a lot of time hunting – (Image: Gil Wizen)
They are quite common in Central and South America, often considered “the most beautiful mosquito in the world.” The whole body from the body to the wings, the legs are light in color, very beautiful. This is also a “weapon” for the male to flirt with his mates when the time of heat arrives.
As an entomologist, Gil is passionate about species such as the Sabethes mosquito. Despite having a lot of experience, taking a perfect photo of this “most beautiful mosquito in the world” is not easy, it requires ingenuity, patience and even pain.
Under the lights, her body radiates iridescent colors, mesmerizing and captivating viewers immediately. The hind legs that end on the body of the mosquito while feeding are also impressive and help give the Saethe its majestic appearance.
Admiring the beauty of Sathethes with your own eyes is something very special, because this mosquito is known to be extremely “tricky” and difficult to take good photos, which is why it has become the subject of photographers, biologists.
There are about 3,500 new species of mosquitoes discovered around the world. But most of them have the property of absorbing water, so it is difficult to please people. For example, mosquitoes of the genus Aedes cause dengue.
But Sabethes mosquitoes are the exact opposite. Their beautiful colors make it difficult for humans to accept them as mosquitoes. The bright colors that differentiate many of these mosquitoes are related to their developed eyesight.
It is known that when the mosquitoes that we usually see are looking for a mate, the male locates the female by the frequency with which he flaps his wings. But Sabethes mosquitoes are different, they can locate each other directly with their eyes. Even if the woman is immobile, the man can still find them.
Iridescent colors help mosquitoes easily attract mates – (Image: Flickr)
Aedes mosquitoes, Culex mosquitoes… they are active when the weather is cool. But Sathethes mosquitoes are usually active during the day and are more active when the temperature and humidity are higher.
According to Gil, Sabethes mosquitoes are extremely agile. In the hot and humid conditions of the Amazon rainforest, mosquitoes respond to the slightest signs of creature movement and ambient light.
Close-up of the soft fur on Sathethes’ legs – (Image: GETTY IMAGES)
“This means you have to stay still when photographing SaƄethes mosquitoes. But hopefully, it won’t just be you and one mosquito, often dozens or even hundreds flying around,” Gil said.
Despite its stunning beauty, the SaƄethes mosquito is a threat to indigenous peoples or forestry professionals. They are responsible for many tropical diseases, such as yellow fever and dengue.
Every year, many scientists get sick from Sathethes mosquitoes while spending time in the Amazon. Especially for photographers, many people even expose themselves to mosquitoes to get satisfying pictures.
Though beautiful, the Sathethes mosquito is an intermediate target for many dangerous diseases – (Photo: Flickr)
Like over 3,300 different species of mosquitoes known throughout the world, only female Sathethes eat flood water, the rest of the time they feed on nectar.
When feeding, their hind legs point forward, not to pose, but since the legs are sensitive, they detect movement and allow themselves to flee in case of danger.
Interesting facts about the beauty of the most splendid mosquito in the world
What is the shiny lollipop in the middle of the foot for?
To flirt with a partner, of course.
When a male Sathethes mosquito encounters a female mosquito, it will try to get closer and land on a tree branch. Male mosquitoes will attach a flap to the female’s wing to prevent the mate from flying away. Next, the male begins to jump, moving the other oars. Immediately afterward, the male mosquito will move its front legs and body in a regular, rhythmic fashion.
In order to have a chance to mate, male mosquitoes are also very persistent.
This courtship dance is very energetic and directly affects the lifespan of male mosquitoes. But for them, passing it on to the next generation is much more important. Also, in order to have a chance to mate, male mosquitoes are also very persistent. If the female does not respond, the male mosquito will repeat the whole dance without stopping, until the female accepts or drives him away.
In particular, male mosquitoes in the reproductive stage not only search for females, but also “express pleasure and pleasure with mates, approach and dance in court.” “Flirting” males are mostly calm, sometimes kicking the hyperactive male to his dismay.
There is an injustice in the natural world that most male animals have more colorful and beautiful coats than females. For example, chickens, peacocks… However, Sathethes cyaneus is different, the female mosquito is as beautiful as the male, which surprised evolutionary researchers.
The female mosquito (left) and the male mosquito (right) both have shiny hairy midlegs, but the adomen is different: the male’s thigh is slightly enlarged at the end, the female’s is narrow.
Can unattractive male mosquitoes find a mate?
In the wild, females are often a relatively scarce resource, and males face stiff competition for limited mating opportunities. Some males decide to win the war of the flies, like the moose; Some males win hearts and constantly display their beauty, like peacocks. Under this selection pressure, females tend to go unnoticed, while males are alluring and attractive.
However, Sathethes cyaneus is not just a rare “male and female” species found in the wild; Male mosquitoes can also find a mate even without conspicuous fins.
Researchers at Uppsala University (Sweden) carried out a series of experiments to find out why both male and female Saethes cyaneus mosquitoes are beautiful. They found that removing the conspicuous fins from the males did not significantly reduce their mating success. Males without blades can still jump to attract females, and the probability of being accepted as a female is no less than that of male blade-footed mosquitoes.
But on the contrary, if the female does not have fins, the chances of being preferred by the male drop drastically. In other words, although the males appear to be performing the dance to flirt with the female and show off her large oars, they are actually examining the female’s choice of oars before performing the dance.
Later research showed that the size of the female’s fins is directly proportional to fertility. When females have large fins, this indicates that they have strong breeding abilities and attract more courting males.
Three mosquitoes in the image: the male on the far left is flirting with the female in the middle, and the male on the far right stands and watches.