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Otters Oddities

Illustration for article titled Otters Oddities

Run! Alien invaders!

WAIT! Stop running! I was only kidding!

It's not really an alien. It's a picture of an electron microscope scan. But, most of you probably knew that. That crack about the aliens didn't fool any of you, did it?


So, what is this a scan of?

Well, it's a scan of the most annoying thing in the world. And, if you don't agree with me, you're wrong. Because, I'm right. This is a proboscis. The pointy end of the proboscis.


And what does this proboscis belong to? I already told you. It belongs to the most annoying thing in the world. If you don't know what that is, then I guess I'll have to enlighten you.

This is the proboscis of a mosquito.

See? I told you it was the most annoying thing ever. And, if you don't have skeeters where you live, you're lucky. Seriously lucky.


That's because, not only are the annoying, buzzing in your ear, sucking your blood and injecting an enzyme to prevent blood clots that cause an itch and hive, they also transmit disease.

Deadly disease.

Mosquitos kill more people in five minutes than sharks do in a year. And, every year, mosquitos kill 2.7 million people. That makes them the deadliest animal for humans. Throughout history, mosquitos have killed more people than wars.


And, it's not surprising. Not when you consider how many mosquitos there are out there. In the mid 1970's, government researchers took a survey of the number of mosquitos in a 560acre citrus grove in Florida. They found 8 billion of them. That's 2.3 tons of mosquitos. In a 560 acre area. (granted, it was in Florida where mosquitos are thick, but, still...)

For years, probably for as long as you can remember, you've heard that the only thing that would survive a nuclear war is a cockroach. Too bad that's wrong. Mosquitos will survive as well. In fact, one of the reasons mosquitos kill so many people is because of how fast they adapt to whatever pesticide we use on them.


For example, the US government developed a chemical called DDT. It proved to be 100% effective against mosquitos. It also proved effective against everything else, too, which was too bad. It almost resulted in the Bald Eagle going extinct.

But, in the end, not even DDT had lasting effects. Within 10 years, the majority of mosquitos in the wild were immune to DDT.


Now, I've filled your head with a lot of facts about the nasty mosquito. Personally, I hate them. And, I''m one of the lucky ones. When they bite me, the enzyme they inject that causes the itching and bumps doesn't affect me. So, it's just annoying, but not itchy.

But, you can ignore everything I've written about mosquitos up until now. None of the facts I've supplied are what makes mosquitos deserving of an oddities post. No, there's something else about them that warrants this post. And, that fact involves that proboscis up there.


And that fact is: Mosquitos have 47 teeth. Yes, teeth. On their proboscis. They aren't teeth like we have, that are used for chewing. A mosquitos teeth are used more like a saw to allow the proboscis to be able to slice through your skin. Or the hide of an animal.

Mosquitos aren't the type of animal that you would consider as having teeth. And that, my friends, is what makes them deserve an oddities post.


*Authors Note*

Just to clarify, yesterdays post was not a part of Made-Up Monday. I haven't started that yet. I plan on starting it next Monday. So, yes, there really are that many definitions of the word set.

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