Animals

Difference between fleas and mosquitoes

Main difference

The main difference between fleas and mosquitoes is that fleas are small, eye-spotted insects that belong to the order Siphonaptera, while mosquitoes are flying insects with compound eyes that belong to the order Dipterid.

Fleas against mosquitoes

Fleas belong to the Siphonaptera order of the Animalia kingdom, while gnats belong to the Dipterid order. Fleas are small insects that do not fly; On the other hand, mosquitoes are delicate insects that can fly, they contain a pair of wings. The body of fleas is between 1.5 and 3.3 mm long, while mosquitoes are between 1 and 15 mm long. Fleas have simple eye spots or some do not have eyes; on the other hand, mosquitoes have compound eyes.

Fleas do not have wings with legs modified for high jump; On the flip side of the coin, mosquitoes have wings. They have a pair of wings to fly. Fleas have a hard, hard body covered in sclerites, while mosquitoes have a small, delicate body with thin legs. Adult fleas suck blood from the host body as they are proboscis parasites, while gnats can feed plants, fungi and can even feed blood.

Flea larvae feed through their specialized apparatus, as they can feed on their adult feces; on the other hand, gnats larvae feed on plants, since they are considered carnivorous. Fleas lay small, oval-shaped, white eggs; on the other hand, gnats lay eggs in the terrestrial and aquatic environment. Fleas cause itchy, parasite-like raised spots on the host, while gnats also irritate the host’s body. Fleas suck the host’s blood to feed, while mosquitoes do not specifically suck blood, as females of some species suck blood for egg development.

Comparative chart
Fleas Mosquitoes
Fleas are tiny insects, which have eye spots, the long legs belong to the order Siphoneptera as wingless insects. Mosquitoes are insects with a thin and delicate body, they have compound eyes, they belong to the order Diptera as winged insects.
Size
1.5 to 3.3 mm 1 to 15 mm
Flying ability
Can’t fly like Wingless It can fly like it has a pair of wings
Feeding
Feeds on blood like parasites It feeds on plants, fungi, insects, and blood.
Characteristic of the eyes
Simple eye spots or some species without eyes. Compound eyes
Morphology
Small insects, hard bodies, flattened on the side, composed of sclerites. Small, delicate insects have long legs.
Life expectancy
2 to 3 months 2 to more than two weeks

What are fleas?

Fleas are small insects belonging to the order Siphonaptera that live as external parasites on the bodies of mammals and birds. They are called parasites rather than any symbiotic relationship because they suck the host animal’s blood through the proboscis (elongated appendix). Fleas are so small that they are 1.5 to 3.3 mm in length with a brown color that has flattened sideways and narrow bodies. The legs of the fleas are modified last to form the claws that grip the surface of the host. Fleas can jump 50 times more than their body length allows.

They have simple eye spots that aid vision using a simple biconvex lens instead of compound eyes. The flea life cycle has four common stages, representing the flea population as 50% eggs, 35% larvae, 10% pupae, and 5% adults. The larvae also feed by the specialized feeding apparatus, as their main food is the feces of adult fleas.

In the adult stage, they mainly continue to suck blood and begin to reproduce. Adult life is only 2 to 3 months, but under ideal survival conditions, they can live up to a year. They feed on the warm-blooded host. In the host, they cause an itchy sensation, raised and inflamed epidermis after an excessive bite, can cause secondary hair loss and even anemia in severe cases. Their body is hard and resistant so they can withstand scratches from the host to remove them.

Fleas served as vectors for diseases, such as bacterial, viral, and rickettsial diseases.

What are mosquitoes?

Mosquitoes are flying insects that belong to the order Dipterid with the suborder Nematocera. They can include both itchy and non-itchy species. Mosquitoes have compound eyes, six legs, and three body parts including the abdomen, thorax, and head. They are about 1 to 15 mm long and contain a pair of wings, but some of their species are weak fliers. They feed on plants, fungi, insects, and suck blood like parasites. Gnats can serve as a source of pollination as pollinators by feeding on crop pests that commonly include aphids and gnats.

The blood-feeding species of mosquitoes are very small as only the female members of the species feed on the blood for the development of their eggs, while the male members of the species feed on the plants. For mating, male mosquitoes gather in large swarms. Non-biting mosquitoes are aquatic, and some are free-living, some of which are called carnivores when they feed on the plant.

Mosquitoes usually fly in the form of “clouds” as large groups. Their larvae can be mobile or immobile, since they can be aquatic or terrestrial. Adults can survive for a week or more than two weeks, as a female can lay up to 1000 eggs in her lifetime. Mosquito bites can cause swelling, redness, itching, as well as through the bite, they can serve as disease vectors for animals.

Non-biting mosquitoes do not harm plants, while the presence of large numbers of larvae can harm by stunting plant growth and damaging roots.

Key differences

  1. Fleas belong to the order Siphonaptera of the kingdom Animalia, while mosquitoes belong to the order Dipterid.
  2. Fleas do not fly without wings and can jump more than their body length, while mosquitoes are flying insects that have one pair of wings.
  3. Fleas have a hard body that is made up of sclerites; on the other hand, mosquitoes have delicate and thin bodies.
  4. Fleas have simple eye spots; On the other side of the coin, mosquitoes have modified compound eyes.
  5. Fleas are around 1.5-3.3mm long, while the mosquito’s body is 1-15mm long.
  6. Fleas feed on the host’s blood as a parasite, while species-based gnats feed on plants, fungi, insects, and blood as well.
  7. Flea larvae have specialized feeding devices as they feed on the feces of adults; on the other hand, mosquito larvae are considered carnivores as they feed on plants.
  8. Fleas lay small, oval-shaped eggs on their host, while mosquitoes lay eggs in the terrestrial and aquatic environment.
  9. The lifespan of fleas is approximately 2 to 3 months; on the other hand, the mosquito’s lifespan can be more than two weeks.

Final Thought

Fleas are small insects that belong to the order Siphonaptera, with long legs modified to claws, parasites that feed on blood, while gnats belong to the order Dipterid with compound eyes with various sources of food.

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