Where Do Mosquitos Sleep?

October 31, 2023

The sting of a mosquito buzzing in your ear can ruin an evening out, especially when it happens at night. Whether you’re lounging on the porch or watching your kids swim, you’re often pestered by these pests that seem to appear out of nowhere after dark. But do mosquitos actually sleep? And if they do, what do they look like when they do?

Mosquitos are hematophage insects, which means they feed on blood. So, they must rest in order to survive, but do they really sleep? It turns out that most species of mosquitoes have circadian rhythms that control their sleep-wake cycles, similar to human biological clocks. In fact, if you deprive these bugs of the light and noise that accompany our daily lives they will go into a sort of sleep-like state.

These resting periods are important for mosquitoes because they’re cold-blooded and can’t generate their own heat. To compensate, mosquitoes use a thermal gradient to stay warm. This means they are more active during warm days and less active at cooler temperatures.

To keep themselves from freezing, mosquitoes look for sheltered locations. In nature, they seek out brush or thick weeds, caves or rock shelters, holes in the ground or hollow logs to rest and wait for nightfall. Closer to home, mosquitoes will hide in basements or barns, culverts under roads or closets – any place that feels safe and secure for their short hibernation. Observation of unique postural differences between resting and active mosquitoes, distinctive circadian organization of putative sleep-like states among different mosquito species and correlation of gene expression patterns to those in Drosophila suggest that mosquitoes do indeed have periods of low activity that can be considered “sleep.” The question remains, however, what this sleeping behavior looks like for these disease vectors.


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