Flys are bigger than mosquitos. They both bite but mosquitos do so more and need blood to live off of. Mosquitos come out at night, but flys are around all the time.
Mosquitos, scientifically named Culicidae, are prevalent problem insects found in every part of the world. Their best habitats are marshy and wet areas but poke noses in households as well. These invertebrates are usually predatory, feasting on human and other mammalian blood. It’s this attribute that makes them entirely hazardous to human health, causing deadly malaria. However, not all mosquitoes have this unique ability, but only the female anopheles.
Disease transmission of mosquitoes
Mosquitoes are among the notorious killers among all dangerous disease-causing vectors in the world. They have a high potential to transmit malaria, filariasis, the West Nile virus, yellow fever, encephalitis, and dengue.
Species that are known in the world today
There are over 3000 mosquito species known in the world today. While many species exist, there are a few with great significance to human health. They include
• The anopheles mosquito (Anopheles SPP)
There are nearly 430 Anopheles mosquito species known to the world today. Of these species, only between 30 and 40 are vectors, meaning that the rest do not significantly influence human health. The anopheles mosquito is responsible for all malaria incidences and deaths globally, accounting for up to 274,000 fatalities worldwide.
• The Culex mosquito (Culex Tritaeniorhynchus)
This species of mosquitoes obtains its blood from birds rather than humans. Therefore it’s not a characteristically fatal species to people. However, it’s still a vector for potentially hazardous diseases that still affect humans. It has a lifespan of 10 to 14 days and bites after dusk or at dawn. The culex mosquito is known to spread Filariasis, the West Nile Virus, and Encephalitis.
• The Aedes mosquito (Aedes Aegypti)
This mosquito species is popularly known as the “Yellow Fever Mosquito.” It’s a common species traversing the South, North, and Central Americas. They are notorious vectors for Yellow Fever and Dengue fever in the world today.
• The Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes Albopictus)
This mosquito species is exotic and derives its name because of the single white stripe on their head’s backside and their backs. They originate from South Asia and are a vector for Zika virus, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, and Equine Encephalitis.
Flies are insects of the order Diptera consisting of over 1,000,000 species. However, about 125,000 species have been documented. They are unique among insects, having the ability to use only a pair of wings for flight. Just like mosquitoes, these insects have little significance to human health and cause more harm than good.
Flies are among the most notorious disease spreaders globally, transmitting enteric infections like cholera, diarrhea, and some helminth infections. Flies carry E. coli pathogens and other bacteria responsible for infections like Anthrax, food poisoning, tularemia, and conjunctivitis.
Species that are known in the world today
• Housefly (Musca domestica)
This is a common fly species found in households and can transmit more than 100 different pathogens. This species of flies commonly spread salmonellosis, tuberculosis, and typhoid. They feed on liquids by sucking through their proboscis but can liquefy solid food by spitting and regurgitation techniques.
• Horse flies (Tabanidae)
These flies are found adjacent streams and creeks where there is warmth and dampness. They can also be found in areas near livestock and humans, as they usually look for blood to nourish their eggs. Horseflies do not live out at night and tend to avoid shady and dark areas. Their bites are also very painful, and they are also good at transferring pathogens from one host to another.
• The fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)
This fly species is commonly found in places with rotting food, including homes, restaurants, and kitchens. They are fruit fan favorites, dishing and breeding fruit peelings and remains in dust bins or trash pits. There are around 4000 fruit fly species worldwide, with the main species of fruit fly species including the Mediterranean fruit fly, the Caribbean fruit fly, and the Queensland fruit fly.
Fly vs. mosquito: The difference
• Eating habits
Mosquitos pierce through human and animal skin to suck blood but technically don’t use the blood for their nourishment but protein for their eggs. Most mosquito, like every other insect, feeds on nectar from flowers using the proboscis.
On the other hand, Flies have spongy mouthparts they use to feed on liquids from fruits and food. Although they don’t have any chewing mechanisms, flies feed by liquefying solid food by suppressing juices and sucking it.
Flies are generally bigger than mosquitoes. The enormous fly, Gauromydas heros, measures 2.76 inches long, while the giant mosquito, Toxorhynchites speciosus, measures only 1.5 inches long. Typically, mosquitoes don’t overgrow flies, although a handful of species can be smaller than most mosquitoes.
Mosquitos rely on marsh areas and, most notably, water to lay eggs. They usually utilize water’s surface tension to attach their larvae. Conversely, flies lay eggs on decaying fruits, food remains in the pits, and sewage steams.
• Diseases spread.
The diseases spread by both insects are vector-specific. Mosquitoes spread diseases including malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, filariasis, and the West Nile virus. Some of these diseases are, however, spread by specific mosquito species. Alternatively, flies spread most helminth infections, including cholera and diarrhea.
Mosquitos and flies may be similar in specific attributes, both being insects, but differ in a wide array of characteristics. A common characteristic of both is their ability to spread infections that are detrimental to humans. However, the infections transmitted are not all similar.
Both insects also differ in their breeding habits as well as feeding mechanisms.
However, these insects have a silver lining to their name. They aid pollination and help in decomposition of matter, so that we don’t have to deal with them. As much detrimental they may be to humans, their importance can’t be ignored.