Most people may not have heard of the gallinipper mosquito; however the people of Florida are about to meet them head on. According to Huff Post published yesterday and updated today, “Experts warn that some Sunshine State residents may soon have to deal with an increase in an unusually large, unusually aggressive and unusually painful “supermosquito” native to the eastern half of the United States, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Psorophora ciliata, known colloquially as "gallinippers," are notorious bloodsuckers that thrive in heavily flooded areas, according to University of Florida researchers.”
The attack will be fearsome. “Indian River County's Carlson explained that the insects allegedly got their moniker "because they're so big they can nip a gallon of blood with a single bite." The feel of their bite has been described as being stabbed.” These “supermosquitoes” are as big as a quarter.
There are about 3000 species of mosquitoes in the world, of which 176 species are recognized in the USA. According to the American Mosquito Control Association, “Mosquitoes can be an annoying [and] serious problem in man's domain. They interfere with work and spoil hours of leisure time. Their attacks on farm animals can cause loss of weight and decreased milk production. Some mosquitoes are capable of transmitting diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue, filariasis and encephalitis [St. Louis encephalitis (SLE), Western Equine encephalitis (WEE), LaCrosse encephalitis (LAC), Japanese encephalitis (JE), Eastern Equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV)] to humans and animals.”
Wild Species 2010 on “Mosquitoes” reports that, “Although only females blood-feed, both males and females require sugar meals, which they generally get from floral nectar. In the process, mosquitoes can serve as pollinators – in the Arctic, they are important pollinators of orchids.”
Floridians may have painful encounters with this monster mosquito but the gallinipper does not spread viruses such as the West Nile virus and it eats the larvae of other smaller mosquitos.