A female mosquito sucks blood from a photographer's hand

The first malaria vaccine, Mosquirix, is being assessed by the World Health Organisation for recommendation to developing countries

What makes mosquitoes, creatures which haven't changed much in over 50 million years, so deadly to humans in 2015?

Mosquitoes usually live for just one week if they are male and a few months if they are female but in that time, the small insects manage to cause a disproportionate amount of irritation, pain and health risk to humans.

Because of its ability to pass on diseases to humans, the mosquito is the most deadly animal in the world. As well as malaria, mosquitoes can also carry the West Nile virus, yellow fever, encephalitis and dengue fever.

Thankfully not all mosquitoes carry the malaria parasite, however their bite can still lead to discomfort and infection. It is only female mosquitoes which bite people. Their male counterparts tend to stick to plants.

Mosquitoes do not even use our blood as food. It is used as protein to develop their eggs.

The females are equipped with special bloodsucking feeders. They inject their saliva into the skin to stop the blood from clotting and swell their abdomen so that they can up to triple their body weight.

It is the saliva that causes an allergic reaction in the skin, making it swollen and itchy.

Anyone with a fear of insects may not wish to see this video, showing how they suck blood.


Even though mosquitoes today are very similar to those discovered from up to 50 million years ago, they have evolved. Thanks to their ability to breed a lot of offspring quickly, mosquitoes are developing resistance to pesticides.

Your bloodtype, metabolism and how much you breathe can affect how attractive you are to mosquitos. Type O blood is the tastiest it seems.

Exercising, wearing dark clothes and drinking beer can all increase your appeal too.

Some people have been found to produce a natural chemical repellent to mosquitoes in their skin. It is a genetic defence so either you've got it or you don't.

Since 2000, malaria related deaths have halved but there are still nearly 200 million cases each year, resulting in the deaths of around 1,200 children every day. New vaccine, Mosquirix is hoped to prevent one in three cases.