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Lesson ideas: Biology

Studying the life history of the parasite is no longer on biology specifications, but mosquitoes are fascinating nevertheless.

KS45: the way the mouth parts of the female mosquitoes are shaped into a hollow piercing needle could be used as an example of adaptation. Most schools should have prepared slides of mosquito mouth parts and these could be viewed with a microscope.

ASA2: a good background reader, which outlines the way disease has changed the course of history is Plague's Progress by Arno Karlen (Phoenix paperback, pound;7.99). It won the Rhone-Poulenc General Prize for Science Books in 1996. A big concern today is the spread of the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus). It attacks anything warm blooded, is a prolific breeder and thrives in used car tyres, tin cans and litter, such as discarded crisp packets. It has spread from Asia to Australasia, the US and Europe, because of the international trade in used tyres. The diseases it carries, such as dengue fever, are also spreading. This could provide a useful research and essay topic. For more information read "Mosquitoes and tyres" by Keith Snow and Clement Ramsdale (Biologist, volume 49, number 2, page 49) and visit: www.uri.eduresearcheeetires.html and www.epa.govpesticidescitizensmosquito.html.

Jackie Hardie

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