Take a look sometime at a mosquito under a magnifying glass and enjoy the sight of an extraordinary and attractive insect with a long proboscis. Why are there small spatters of blood on the walls of so many bedroom? Why does nearly everybody loath this small insect? Listen to this story and find out…
King Salomon understood the roaring of the wild animals, the hiss of the snakes, the songs of the birds, the zooming of the insects, the language of trees and plants and the talk of men. He ruled over Israel some 3000 years ago. It was King Solomon who assigned the different types of food to each animal. To one he gave the meat of weakened animals, to the other he gave herbs, to yet another seeds or berries. To the snake he said: “You will have the sweet blood of humans.”
After a while the people began to complain to the king. “A snake is a mean and sneaky animal; he hides in the undergrowth and attacks us when we are off our guard. We simply don’t have a fair chance. Our numbers are dropping so quickly that we humans are now threatened with extinction.” The king thought about this and chastised the people: “Why should I take away the snake’s food? Work at becoming cleverer and so avoid being the mindless victim of this clever creature.” Discouraged and scared the people went home.
During the annual general meeting of all the animals the humans once again complained about the mean snake: “We are better than other animals, we deserve to be protected better!” At this the animals roared, barked, grunted and cried out with indignation. “Silence!” ordered the king. “I hereby order the smallest creature present today, the mosquito, to investigate which animal has the sweetest blood. The snake will be given the animal with the sweetest blood as his prey.”
After a year of investigations the mosquito flew off to attend the next annual general meeting. The swallow, the human’s friend, flew for a while alongside the mosquito and asked it which animal had the sweetest blood. “The humans,” replied the mosquito. “What did you say?” asked the swallow. The mosquito opened its mouth to answer, at which the bird bit off the insect’s tongue.
At the meeting Solomon asked the mosquito about his findings. “Grraahuu” answered the tongueless mosquito. “What did you say, mosquito?” asked the king and when he heard the sound “gruuu” again, he became angry. At this the swallow called out: “O King, the mosquito suddenly lost his power of speech on his way to this meeting. We were flying along together when he told me that the frog has the sweetest blood of all.”
The king imagined the wild gesturing of the mosquito was simply the creature’s way of confirming this and came to a decision on the matter: “So be it. As of today the frog will be the snake’s food.” The snake protested: “The frog doesn’t taste sweet in the slightest!” His protests were in vain. Ever since then the snake eats frogs, but every now and then he cannot resist the temptation of biting a human just to enjoy the flavor of really sweet blood.
And what happened to the mosquito? He was so furious with the humans that this is why he drinks their sweet blood as often as possible and leaves behind an itching wound for good measure.
The most well-known mosquitos in The Netherlands and Belgium belong to the Culicidae Family, as do the midges and the gnats. Just like birds they are plant eaters (sap and nectar). To make their eggs they need protein derived from blood. That is why only female mosquitos bight. However, gnats, which are slightly larger than the mosquito, do not bight. You see them in small groups dancing up and down above plants, even in winter whenever there is some warm sunshine. Midges or sandflies are mini mosquitos and live mostly in a very humid habitat such as marshlands. Like the mosquito only the females bight to make their eggs.
© Els Baars, Natuurverhalen.nl