1. What kind of mosquito transmits Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever?
Aedes aegypti is the primary vector of the Zika, dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses. The Aedes aegypti mosquito looks like many other mosquitoes and is difficult to identify without the use of a microscope. As a rule, if they are found indoors and feed during the day it is likely that they are Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
Unlike other types of mosquitoes, the Aedes aegypti mosquito has adapted to live and breed in urban areas in close proximity to humans. The mosquito breeds in artificial containers (e.g. old tyres, pot plant trays) that collect water and feeds almost exclusively on humans for blood.
2. What is a mosquito's role in the environment?
There are many different types or species of mosquitoes that live naturally in the environment. Some mosquitoes do not live in close association with humans like Aedes aegypti and prefer to live in natural wetland or mangrove environments. In these natural environments the aquatic larval or "wriggler" stage can be an important food source for animals such as fish, adult Aedes aegypti are eaten by birds, geckoes and spiders.
As the mosquito is well adapted to living with people in the urban environment, it has little contact with broader natural ecosystems.
3. How long does an Aedes aegypti mosquito live – and how far does it fly?
The adult lifespan of the Aedes aegypti mosquito can range from two weeks to a month depending on environmental conditions. The average Aedes aegypti mosquito will disperse relatively short distances and travel no more than 500 metres in its lifetime.