Introduction: I conducted an experiment to see how the amount of food affected the rate of growth of a mosquito. I got mosquitoes and grew them with different amounts of food.
My theory is the more food that is put in the water for the mosquitoes the faster they will grow. I think this because I talked to Dr. Robin Todd, a mosquito researcher, and he said they would respond to more food which means the more food they have, the faster they might grow.
Small sized tank
Large sized tanks (Plastic shoe boxes)
Gallon of distilled water
Yellow Fever mosquito eggs (Aedes aegypti)
Vitamin C tablets
Dried pork liver powder
2 eye droppers
- I got the mosquito eggs from a business in Baltimore at Insect Control and Research.
- That night I hatched out the mosquitoes by: taking a small sized tank and putting well water in it (890 mls). I started my experiment on 10/18/02.
- Then I put ½ a Vitamin C tablet in the water so all the oxygen would be out of the water so the eggs would hatch.
- Then I cut off a little strip of the mosquito eggs off and put them in the water. There were about 500 eggs on the strip that I cut off. Note: It takes about half an hour for the eggs to hatch. Note: The eggs are the first stage in the mosquitoes’ life.
- When they hatched I put them in the living room and I waited a day to start so they could get some nutrients in them so they could grow some.
- The next day I put the mosquito larvae into the new tanks. Note: Mosquito larvae are the second stage in the mosquitoes’ life. Another name for larvae is wiggler because they wiggle around in the water. In my first experiment I measured the mosquito larvae and watched how fast they grew. I did not take any data from measuring them because I saw that I didn’t have enough data because they did not stay in the larvae stage for very long.
- Then I filled the large sized tanks (or plastic shoe boxes) with 3 well water and 1distilled water tanks. Each held 1,750 ml of water in each tank. The temperature of the water was 21 degrees Celsius. The room was the same temperature.
- Then I started to count the number of mosquito larvae for each tank. There were 50 in each tank. I did this by pulling them out of the little tank with an eye dropper. Then I would put them into the water as I counted them.
- There are 4 tanks. Food 1x, Food 2x, Distilled Water and No Food. (1x means the stationary amount of food.) 2x means twice as much food as the 1x. No food means I didn’t put any pork liver in. Distilled means it was distilled water.)
- I took them into our living room and put them by the window sill because mosquitoes are used to partially light and partially shade to live in. Then I added food to the tank. I did this by measuring the food out on a gram scale. I measured the pork liver powder first, then I measure the Brewer’s Yeast second. The Brewer’s Yeast weighed 0.2 grams. I used these food types because Dr. Robin Todd recommended these food types. (He’s a mosquito specialist.)
- I added the food into the tanks but I didn’t put the pork liver powder in the no off. I made sure I put Brewer’s Yeast in all of them. The Brewer’s Yeast would give them energy. But the pork liver powder gave them protein to help them grow faster.
- I observed them for 2 weeks writing down the number of adults I saw in each tank. This was kind of difficult because the mosquitoes were consistently flying around in the tanks. Note: Adult mosquitoes can live on top of water and they reproduce there. They go elsewhere to find nectar from plants. But they need blood to reproduce. Once we saw pupae we put the lids to the tanks on. Pupae are the third stage in the mosquito life cycle. Another name for pupae is tumbler because they tumble around in the water as they swim.)
- On 11/9/02 I stopped my experiment.
- I made a chart of all the adults I saw on each date and which tank they were in. Note: Male mosquitoes hatch out first. Also male mosquitoes do not suck blood and they are not the ones to reproduce.
- I duplicated the experiment on 11/9/02. The temperature in our living room was 2 degrees warmer (23 degrees Celsius) than it was when we did our first experiment. Note: This might have been a variable because they grew much faster and it took less time for them to grow than the other mosquitoes in the first experiment.
For complete data click here.
In this experiment I learned that the more food the mosquitoes were fed the faster they would grow. I think this was because the more nutrients the mosquitoes had, the faster they would grow. There were some variables like sunlight. When it got later into the year there was less sunlight and that meant the days were shorter. Note: Mosquitoes don’t like direct sunlight. If you shined a light on them they would go the opposite direction of the light. I think this is why they grew faster in the second experiment. Another variable was the temperature. The room was 3 degrees (Celsius) higher than it was in the first experiment. The second experiment had more adults hatch out than the first experiment. So temperature and sunlight affected the rate of growth of the mosquitoes.
This experiment is like real life because people have to control the mosquito population. A few of the ways people could control the population is they could put fish in their ponds and other aquatic life to eat mosquito larvae. Plus people could maintain their ponds so as to keep food and trash out of their ponds. Another way is to get rid of water that is laying around like buckets full of water from rain and any thing that can hold water. Things like this are very good places for mosquitoes to live because the water consists of algae and lots of dirt and leaves. People could also use safe chemicals in places they can’t dump or get rid of like pools and ponds. Bt is one of these chemicals. People can use it on pools and ponds because it doesn’t harm people or animals but it does kill some types of bugs including mosquitoes.