The Sabethes mosquito, which is found in the tropical woods of Central and South America, is known for its iridescent blue appearance and feather-like paddles created by extended scales on the tibia of each middle leg. The two rear legs arching over the mosquito’s body while it feeds are extremely remarkable and contribute to the Sabethes’ magnificent appearance. It’s a privilege to be able to marvel at its beauty, as this breed is noted for being exceedingly shy and difficult to snap successfully.
“The mosquito reacts to even the tiniest motions and variations in light intensity,” wildlife photographer Gil Wizen told the BBC recently. “This implies that if you try to capture an image of it, you must stay very still and be prepared for the mosquitoes to flee if you use a flash. Fortunately, you are never alone with a mosquito because there are generally dozens flying above your head.”
One of the Sabethes mosquito’s distinguishing features is its padded middle legs, which experts have yet to find out what they’re for. It was once thought that they were involved in the mosquitoes’ famously complicated mating ritual, but investigations have showed that when the paddles were removed from the male legs, they were still able to mate effectively. For the time being, all we know is that they appear to be attractive.
Like in the more than 3,300 known species of mosquito in the world, only the females blood-feed, only they only do it when they are about to produce eggs. The rest of the time, they feed on nectar. Whenever they feed, the hind legs arch forward, not as a pose, but because the legs are sensory, they detect movement and allow the insect to flee in case of danger.
Despite its undeniable beauty, it’s worth remembering that the Sabethes is still a mosquito, therefore a vector of tropical diseases like yellow fever and dengue fever.