A Mosquito Blitzkrieg on a recent camping trip prompted me to think more about mosquitoes than ever before.
I wondered about their presence in the Garden of Eden and how Adam and Noah dealt with them. (This is the subject of the next blog article, Were Mosquitoes in the Garden of Eden?.)
Thousands of mosquito species feed on human blood, leaving itchy welts. Mosquitoes also transmit serious diseases like malaria and encephalitis which annually cause millions of deaths worldwide. During World War II, mosquito-transmitted malaria killed over 60,000 U.S. troops.
Thus mosquitoes are the deadliest creature in the world.
But only female mosquitoes are dangerous. Only the female bites and sucks blood. She uses blood proteins to produce her eggs. The male does not bite or suck blood.
How do mosquitoes find blood donors?
Feeding preferences of female mosquitoes include people with type O blood, heavy breathers, people with lots of skin bacteria, people with high body heat, and pregnant women.
Mosquitoes have smelling and heat-sensing organs on their hairy antennae and on their three pairs of legs. Exhaled carbon dioxide, body heat, movement, and perspiration attract mosquitoes. A mosquito’s eyes, which almost fill its head, take infrared images of body heat. Dark clothing attracts mosquitoes, because it holds more heat than light colored clothing.
So strenuous physical exertion is a risk factor when mosquitoes may be present. The increased movement and panting, perspiration, and elevated body temperature will only attract them. Vigorous exercise makes you a mosquito magnet.
The biting apparatus the Creator gave female mosquitoes is a complex yet minuscule proboscis. A saliva tube and a separate sucking tube are surrounded by two sharp mandibles and two serrated scalpels. These six pieces are sheathed in the tiny proboscis which is inserted only a few millimeters into the skin to find a capillary. The mosquito pumps saliva down one tube before sucking blood up through the other tube.
Mosquito saliva contains an anti-coagulant to prevent blood from clotting and thereby clogging the mosquito’s proboscis. The saliva also contains a blood vessel dilator. These two agents could be useful for medicinal purposes like treating cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.
Mosquito saliva also contains an anesthetic that serves as a local numbing agent. Once the mild painkiller wears off, the remaining saliva under the skin causes the characteristic skin welt and itchiness.
Of around 20 known proteins in mosquito saliva, scientists understand the purpose for only half of them.
The manner in which the Creator equipped the mosquito to hunt and procure blood is beyond impressive! All the equipment and functions have to be finely-tuned, coordinated, and operational from the beginning for the mosquito to survive. Partial development, as would exist in an evolutionary process, would never work and would be fatal to the species.
Male mosquitoes identify and pursue female mosquitoes by ear, locating them by the sound of their wings. Mosquito ears have as many sound-sensing cells as human ears.
The female wing beat can reach 500 beats per second; males select high frequency beaters for mates. When a mosquito hears an opposite-sex whine from a wing beat, it synchronizes its own pitch to match that of its desired mate. Males can synchronize with female frequencies in a second or two; females take about five seconds to synchronize.
Mosquitoes are prolific. In several weeks a single breeding pair can generate a population of thousands.
Evolutionary biologists place the evolutionary origin of mosquitoes in the Jurassic Period and say they are 210 million years old. Yet the oldest mosquito fossils we have (79 million years old supposedly) look like today’s mosquitoes.
Why has there been no evolution in 79 million years? Why don’t we see mosquitoes the size of eagles terrorizing the planet?
The answer is that Yahweh created life to reproduce according to kind. He built in variation to enable continuation of life kinds as environments change. But kinds cannot change beyond limits the Creator set. There is no way to increase the DNA information to produce a new kind.
Secondly, Yahweh created mosquitoes only 6,000 years ago, not 79 million years ago. There has been no time for them to evolve, even if this were a possibility.
For more about mosquitoes than you ever wanted to know, click Mosquitoes.
Questions to Ponder
- Will you choose to trust God’s wisdom and sovereignty, and praise Him even for segments of His creation that are uncomfortable and inconvenient, such as the mosquito?
- What practical strategies help you keep calm and cheerful to represent Christ faithfully even when mosquitoes are at their most aggravating?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Soli Deo Gloria.
Read the sequel:
Were Mosquitoes in the Garden of Eden?
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday August 26, 2015 A.D.
But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind? (Job 12:7-10)