Mosquitos have been a pest for a long time – but how long? With the sixth and newest Jurassic Park film, Jurassic World: Dominion, set to arrive in theaters this spring, it’s a good time to look at how old mosquitos are.
As most of you are probably aware, in the films, scientists were able to get dinosaur DNA from blood samples found in the stomachs of prehistoric mosquitos that had been trapped in amber. Is that just a fanciful idea for a science fiction movie, or are mosquitoes so old that they could have bitten dinosaurs?
What Is the Oldest Mosquito?
First of all, did mosquitos exist simultaneously the giant sauropods of antiquity? According to Dr. Ralph Harbach of the Natural History Museum in London, it’s entirely possible.
“Since some of today’s mosquitoes also feed on reptiles, could the more ancient mosquitoes have sucked from a dinosaur?” Dr. Harbach said: “it’s possible. Evidence suggests mosquitoes evolved in the Jurassic Period (200-146 million years ago). If the early ancestral mosquitoes had already evolved to feed on blood, it is conceivable that they may have fed on dinosaurs.”
How Does a Mosquito Get into Amber?
Amber is fossilized tree sap, and tree sap is often sweet-smelling. The most common theory is that mosquitoes would land on a tree branch attracted by the smell and get trapped. Over the centuries, the amber would fossilize, preserving the insect. It is a comparatively typical process, and many types of prehistoric insects have been found preserved this way.
Were There Giant Mosquitoes in Prehistoric Times?
There were giant insects deep in Earth’s past, a side effect of much higher oxygen levels in the atmosphere allowing them to reach sizes that sometimes approached several feet, just like something in a movie. These titans of the insect world attained their largest sizes approximately 300 million years ago, But, as Dr. Harbach pointed out, mosquitos evolved around 200 million years ago.
While it is entertaining to contemplate, there were no genuinely giant mosquitoes back then or in the intervening years. The mosquito’s primary size and shape have hardly changed over the years since prehistoric times.
Did Mosquitoes Evolve from Flies?
No, mosquitos did not evolve from flies; technically, they are flies. Mosquitoes are members of almost 3,600 species of small flies that are part of the family Culicidae (from the Latin culex meaning “gnat”).
East End Tick Control® Eliminates Mosquitoes
If these age-old pests plague your Long Island home, contact us. We can eliminate them and ensure that they do not return. We are proud to note that all of our options are family and pet safe. For those living near Southampton, please call (631) 287-9700 . If you are closer to East Hampton, please call (631) 324-9700. If you reside near Southold, please call (631) 765-9700. You can always email us as well. We look forward to hearing from you!