Mosquitoes in Sudbury attacked by bloodsuckers

David Marks noticed something odd about some of the mosquitoes that tried biting him at a greenhouse in Sudbury, Ont., so he snapped a few pictures.

Sudbury man recently discovered some mosquitoes covered in tiny red mites

Science North staff scientist Bruce Doran showing the mites infested on a mosquito found in Sudbury. (Markus Schwabe)

David Marks noticed something odd about some of the mosquitoes that tried biting him at a greenhouse in Sudbury, Ont., so he snapped a few pictures. 

"These things were flying around, and they had this visible weight on them," said Marks.
A mosquito covered in aquatic mites (David Marks)

He described the mosquitoes as bright red, and said they flew slower than other mosquitoes. 

It turns out the mosquitoes, while looking for a blood meal of their own, were being attacked by tiny aquatic mites.
Aquatic mites can be seen as red dots on a mosquito (David Marks)

Mites are tiny arachnids

Bruce Doran, staff scientist at Sudbury's science centre Science North, said mites are a member of the arachnid family, and were sucking the blood from the female mosquitoes.

"It's kind of funny that we have a female mosquito being attacked by a blood sucker," Doran said, adding that people don't need to worry about being bitten by these particular mites. 

"Aquatic mites don't bite humans," he said. 

Doran said it's unusual to see so many mites on one mosquito, adding that this particular mosquito would likely die from the attack. 
The red dots attached to the mosquito are blood-sucking aquatic mites. (David Marks)

It's payback time

Doran said studies have looked at the possibility of using mites as a biological way to control mosquito populations, but those studies have been inconclusive. 

The man who found the mite-infested mosquito, David Marks, considers the mites to be "a bit of payback."

Edited/packaged by Casey Stranges


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?