Malaysian Mosquitoes and Flies
Mosquitoes and Flies in Malaysia
Malaysian mosquitoes and flies belong to the order of Diptera in the Insect world.
One of the characteristics of these insects is that the members of this Diptera order has only a single pair of wings.
The hind wings of these Malaysian mosquitoes and flies, if we observe carefully, have been reduced to small, tiny stumps called halteres that function as a balancing instrument (like gyroscopes) when they fly.
Therefore these insects use only their fore-wings that we see on their body for their flights.
In Malaysia, mosquitoes and flies are quite widespread because of the tropical climate, with the usual inter-change of rainy and sunny days, that make the grounds conducive habitats for their breeding.
We normally associate flies with the commonly seen domestic variety, the house fly, that we find in our homes.
In Malaysia, with its hot and wet climate, we can expect to find and observe many species and varieties of these flies in various habitats.
Different species of flies use different survival strategies and adaptations for living. Some are active hunters while some others are scavengers and parasites, living off dead animals, and plants.
Fly maggots, if you observed, are capable of rapidly consuming all soft tissues from animal carcasses and decaying food products.
Have you seen them in household refuse bins that have not been cleared by the disposal trucks for a few days?
Did You Know?
That, before the discovery of antibiotics by scientists in the middle of the 20th century, doctors in battle and war zones deliberately used maggots (larvae) of the lucilia blowflies to heal the wounds of soldiers who were injured.
The maggots helped to clear infections when they are placed directly in the wounds.
The maggots feed on the necrotic tissue and they also secrete antibiotic substances which assist in the healing of festering wounds, thus saving many lives.
Houseflies, fruit flies, neriid flies, and dungflies are also usually found at rotting fruits or wet food or vegetable garbage.
On the other hand, soldier flies, long-legged flies, signal flies and the hoverflies (these look like bees) can almost always be seen on flowering plants, flowers, fruit trees, shrubs and bushes in the secondary forests.
Hoverflies help in the pollination of flowers and plants, when they go from plant to plant, while the others also help to eliminate some plant and fruit pests like aphids and other small arthropods.
We mostly regard mosquitoes as pests, but it is interesting to note that only the females of the specie suck blood, whereas the males are no annoyance to humans as they only feed on the nectar of flowers.
But do remember that for the most part they are only the transmitters, not the developers or originators of the diseases.
The Anopheles group of mosquitoes transmits the malaria parasites, and the Aedes group carries the dengue virus, while the Mansonia mosquitoes injects the worms of the filariasis disease.
But please do know, however, that not all of the species in the mosquito groups mentioned above spread the diseases, as some species don't have contact with humans and they only feed on animals.
The prevalence of inclement weather in the country helps in their breeding where eggs are deposited in water, and once hatched, the larvae swim in the water before attaining adulthood.
Definitely a clean environment without stagnating waters will help in ensuring disease-free areas.
Where moist conditions are prevalent, like the jungles and rain-forests, these mosquitoes and other bugs can be prevalent and they are indeed a nuisance or annoyance that we cannot avoid.
That is why when trekking in forests of Malaysia it is advisable to wear long sleeved shirts with high collars and long pants to at least keep them from biting our exposed skin.
And some form of insect repellants spread on the body are also used by some people to keep these annoying insects away.
Roles in the Eco-system
In general the Malaysian mosquitoes and flies all have important roles in the environment and ecological system.
Like other insects, they are vital for the continued existence of plants, trees and forests because through their activities they help in pollination and dissemination of pollens for plant growth.
They may be small but they are important to us humans too.