Mosquitoes differ primarily in the areas in which they make their home. If you take a closer look, their appearance is also different. What not everyone knows is that not all mosquito species are bloodsuckers and leave behind itchy bites or diseases. The most common mosquito species in Central Europe is certainly the common mosquito. Only the female mosquitoes have the habit of attacking humans and animals and sucking their blood. Male mosquitoes prefer to feed on sugary fruit juices or nectar.

Native, blood-sucking mosquito species

Mosquitoes can transmit dangerous diseases with every bite. But can every mosquito transmit every pathogen? Do all mosquitoes bite? This question may be asked by many who keep reading the media about dangerous diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes. You can find out here which mosquitoes we have and what danger they pose.


Mosquitoes are common all over the world. We have a wide variety of species too. Mosquitoes (Culicidae) have specialized mouthparts: the typical stinging-sucking proboscis with which they can suck blood. The female mosquitoes need proteins and iron from the host’s blood for egg production. Common species in Germany include:

Common mosquito (Culex pipiens)

Appearance: Size about 3.5 to 5 millimeters, dark brown/white ringed abdomen. The male house mosquitoes have feathered antennae and do not bite.

This mosquito species is also called house mosquito because it is often found near towns or houses where people or animals live. The female mosquitoes hibernate in sheltered places such as animal stables and can occasionally become a nuisance in the home during the cold season. Sensitive people can react violently to the bites, but generally these mosquitoes do not transmit any serious diseases.

Flood mosquitoes, alluvial forest and meadow mosquitoes (Aedes species)

Appearance: very similar to the
common mosquito In contrast to the common house mosquito, the flood gnats are primarily found in areas where rivers or lakes occasionally flood. The aquatic larvae need standing, shallow water so that they can reproduce well. One of these mosquitoes is Aedes vexans, known as the Rheinschnake because it is found mainly in the floodplains of the Rhine.

Gnitzen/Bartmücken (Ceratopogonidae)

Appearance: The mosquitoes are only about two millimeters long and have a strongly arched chest
. Other names for the midges are midges or bearded midges. In contrast to many other types of mosquitoes, the bite of the female midge is quite noticeable, since she sucks not only her snout, but her whole head into the wound when she sucks. Some animal diseases are transmitted by this mosquito, such as bluetongue or African horse sickness. Pathogens that are dangerous to humans are not known.

Note: Allergic reactions often occur when bitten by a midge. Soiling caused by deep immersion in the wound often leads to inflammation.

Kriebelmücken (Simuliidae)

Appearance: Black flies are between two and six millimeters in size and resemble small flies with a thicker body in their appearance.

Black flies are usually out and about when there is no wind and the sun is shining. They can often be found in swarms because they are looking for a pair. The bites of the local black fly females can be really unpleasant. They cause swelling that itches like hell. Allergic reactions are not uncommon. It is interesting how the black fly bites. It doesn’t actually sting, because some species have less pronounced mouthparts, which makes it almost impossible for them to sting “normally”.

Female black flies do not produce a smooth sting with their poorly developed proboscis, but rather a not very deep wound. The blood collects in this wound, which the mosquito then sucks up on the surface of the skin. For this reason they are not called mosquitoes, but instead stick suckers or pool suckers. This process can lead to violent reactions in humans. The after-effects range from inflammation to severe allergic reactions and colour-intensive swelling to blood inflammation.

Sandmücken (Phlebotominae)

Appearance: up to four millimeters in size, yellow-brown colouring, hairy (also on the wings)
Sand flies are a subspecies of the butterfly gnat and belong to the biting species of gnats. The sand fly actually comes from southern Europe, but is now also native to us as a result of climate change. Since their mouthparts are poorly developed, similar to those of black flies, sand flies also scratch the skin and drink the escaping blood. Sandflies can cause severe allergic reactions and can be carriers of the following diseases:

  • Leishmania
  • Oroya fever and Peruvian warts
  • Sandmückenfieber (Phlebotomusfieber)

Danger from immigrating mosquitoes

As a result of globalization and climate change, we now also have mosquito species that otherwise only live in Asia or the tropical regions of Africa. Unlike most native mosquito species, these mosquitoes can be infected with pathogens that can cause very serious health problems or even death to humans and animals. Dangerous pathogens are primarily transmitted by mosquitoes that have been brought in from Africa and Asia.
Mosquitoes of the genus Aedes are mainly found in Asia and Africa, in Europe only very few species are native. Aedes mosquitoes can transmit the yellow fever virus, the dengue virus or the Zika virus. Once introduced via the international transport of goods, the dangerous disease carrier also establishes itself in Europe. This genus includes the species that have been introduced to Germany for some time:

Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus/Stegomyia albopictus)

  • Appearance: Black and white striped body and legs, up to 10mm in length
  • Diseases: Carriers of dengue and chikungunya fever

Yellow fever mosquito/Egyptian tiger mosquito (Stegomyia aegypti)

  • Appearance: dark (usually brown) colored with white markings on the pronotum (lyre-shaped)
  • Diseases: infected with yellow fever virus, dengue virus, zika virus

Japanese bush mosquito (Hulecoeteomyia japonica)

  • Appearance: Medium to dark brown/white, similar to the tiger mosquito, but the antennae are noticeably shorter than the head
  • Diseases: transmits Japanese encephalitis and West Nile virus

body reaction to the sting

A mosquito bite can cause a slight pain if the proboscis hits a pain nerve. After the sting, a mild allergic reaction occurs in almost all cases, which is limited to the area surrounding the sting. The reaction is caused by proteins that the mosquito injects at the sucking site to prevent blood clotting. The typical wheals on the skin are caused by the release of histamine in the body. This allergic reaction is associated with a more or less severe itching.

disease carriers

The mosquitoes themselves are not pathogenic. However, when biting, pathogens can be transmitted together with the saliva of the mosquito. These can be viruses, bacteria or even multicellular parasites. The female mosquito picked up these pathogens at one of the previous meals. In order for the pathogens to be transmitted, certain conditions must be met. So it is important that these pathogens can also multiply in the mosquito and also get into the salivary glands of the mosquito. The basic requirement for this is that the pathogens or their intermediate stages infect the mosquito in the same way. For this reason, not every mosquito can transmit every pathogen. It usually takes 10 to 14 days for the mosquito to become infected itself and to be able to pass on a pathogen. So if the mosquito bites before this time has elapsed,

Although most biting mosquitoes are very annoying, they hardly pose a health risk. Only sensitive people (and animals) suffer greatly from the bites, and in some cases this can be life-threatening. Everyone else only feels severe itching at the slightly swollen puncture site for a few days. A few specimens also transmit dangerous diseases such as malaria or dengue fever. The main pathogens transmitted by mosquitoes include:

  • Plasmodien (Malaria)
  • parasitic worms (filariasis)
  • Viruses (Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, West Nile Fever, Chikungunya Fever, Rift Valley Fever)
  • bacteria (tularemia)

These mosquitoes don’t bite

In addition to the mosquito species mentioned, there are still a lot of other mosquitoes to be found here, but they do not bite and therefore cannot be dangerous to humans or animals. However, some of the mosquitoes, such as the gall midge, can cause damage to plants.

  • Fungus gnats , such as the yellow-bellied fungus gnat (Sciara analis): smoky black except for the yellow abdomen, 4 to 5 mm long, larvae live in the soil in the humus layer
  • Crane flies (Schneider): very long legs, body pale in color and elongated, largest species of mosquito up to 4 centimeters in size, mainly found in the evenings in spring, but active all year round
  • Window midge, like the window midge (Sylvicola fenestralis): reddish-yellow to brown in color, dark triangle on the outside of the wings, up to 6 mm long
  • Hair midges, such as the March fly (Bibio marci): medium-sized, very hairy, look like flies, occur mainly in spring and autumn
  • Wadden mosquitoes/swamp gnats such as the greater waded midge (Pedicia rivosa): very long legs, size 2.5 to 5 cm, look similar to crane flies, conspicuous dark stripes on the wings
  • Gall midges such as the aspen gall midge (Harmandia loewii): up to four millimeters in size with broad wings, often used as pests on plants, form the typical galls on the leaves
  • Fungus Gnats: Commonly found in cool, damp places such as forests and swamps
  • Midges: almost transparent body, about 6 to 9 mm in size, mosquito twitches constantly (even when resting), also survives on the open sea or in freezing temperatures
  • Longhorn mosquito: very small, long-legged mosquito, often found in leaves and under stones, feeds on the carrion of small animals and fungi
  • Wrinkled midges / wrinkled gnats such as Ptychoptera albimana: up to one centimeter in size with a brightly colored body (bright colors such as orange/black), around 9 mm in length
  • Winter mosquitoes (Trichoceridae): Size about four to seven millimeters, rather inconspicuous silver-grey, mostly occurs in winter and in cool areas

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *