Where Do Mosquitoes Sleep?

October 14, 2023

We’re not the only ones who need a good night’s sleep – mosquitoes do, too. They spend the bulk of their time hiding during the day and resting during the night when they’re not searching for blood to eat, and they also spend time hibernating as the weather gets colder. Scientists think that even though mosquitoes don’t sleep like we do, they enter into a state of inactivity during certain times of the day or night that doesn’t really resemble sleep at all. This behavior, which they refer to as “sleep-like” (see this article for a better explanation), provides them with a number of survival advantages, including reduced risk of desiccation and UV damage, and protection from dragonflies that may be hunting them for prey.

Mosquitoes that are preparing to enter the hibernating stage look for sheltered places to protect them from cold temperatures and lack of water, such as caves or basements. Entomologist J. Turner Brakeley discovered that these mosquitoes tend to assume a posture he calls the hibernation squat, which bends their legs and brings their body close to the surface of the ground or stone they’re resting on in order to absorb warmth from it.

Researchers from UC and Virginia Tech recently studied the sleep-like behavior of mosquitoes, including three species responsible for transmitting diseases to humans. They found that mosquitoes who are sleep deprived spend more time perching than they do actively seeking out a host to bite, which is pretty remarkable for an insect. The study’s lead author, UC doctoral student Oluwaseun Ajayi, says the findings demonstrate just how important sleep is to mosquitoes, and that they can’t afford to miss it.

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