My question is: how far can a mosquito fly over the sea? I am interested to know, because from this, I could possibly deduce on which islands there either might not be mosquitoes or on which it would be achievable to eradicate all mosquitoes until somebody brings another larva.

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    $\begingroup$ That won't work because remote islands are known to have been populated by insects and spiders that have been blown by winds to quite high altitudes and then transported over thousands of kilometers. So, even spiders can be found on young volcanic Islands in the middle of the Pacific.You can find insects and spiders right until the edge of the troposphere at about 10 km altitude, the vast majority of them will end up dying, a few lucky ones may end up in some tropical paradise on the other side of the planet. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 21:51
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    $\begingroup$ How much wood could a woodchuck chuck?? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 0:22
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    $\begingroup$ Also, mosquitoes can hitch rides on something else that floats or flies across the sea. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 3:51
  • $\begingroup$ they are exhansted in under 5 miles, and they tend to shelter from wind, because it uses their energy until they find a host. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 9:28

2 Answers 2


If we ignore the weather effects mentioned by Count Iblis we can do a fairly simple calculation.

The lifespan of a male mosquito is about 10 days whereas females live to about 50 days.

Their flying speed is generally about 1.2mph.

So if we assume that they can fly whilst asleep and maintain a constant velocity for their entire lifespan (obviously ridiculous because of the need to eat etc), their maximum ranges would be:

Male: 1.2 * 24 * 10 = 288 miles.

Female: 1.2 * 24 * 50 = 1440 miles.

It should be noted that these are absolute theoretical maximums. I would suspect real life values to be somewhere in the region of 10%-20% of these. However, once wind is taken into account they can easily spread globally.

  • $\begingroup$ Can a mosquito not land on the sea water to take a rest, or mate in the air, or find some blood to suck along the way? $\endgroup$
    – O0123
    Commented Apr 19, 2017 at 2:43
  • $\begingroup$ Mosquitos are fragile. They don't like direct sun, it dehydrates them fast. they come out a lot at night and in humidity. they don't like spending energy uselessly, their only food source is blood, so they have limited reserves for flight life. I suspect that they can't fly more than 2-3 days continuously without exhaustion. freshwater mosquitos may struggle with sea mist and seawater landings, it may coat them with too much salt for them to preen and work effectively. Either way, they are not fast flyers and they have low energy reserves. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ sorry, that answer is inaccurate, they can only fly 1-2 percent of the given figure, not 10-20%, 2.8 miles not 28. They are thought to travel globally by airplane much more often than from wind! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 4, 2017 at 9:41

They fly maximum a few kilometers, normally about 2-3 kilometers, before being tired.

Mosquito species preferring to breed around the house, like the Asian Tiger Mosquito, have limited flight ranges of about 300 feet. Most species have flight ranges of 2-5 km. Certain large pool breeders in the Midwest are often found up to 10 km from known breeding spots. The undisputed champions, though, are the saltmarsh breeders - having been known to migrate up to 160 km in exceptional circumstances, although 30 to 50 km are much more common when hosts are scarce. When caught up in updrafts that direct them into winds high above the ground, mosquitoes can be carried great distances. When it's windy they tend to hide in forest leaves and in shelters because wind fatigues them, If you can feel the wind, then they probably can't navigate in it.

Time (h)        Speed (km/h)        Distance (km)       Glycogen (J)        

WT 3.68 (±0.31)...... A 0.68 (±0.03)...... A 2.39 (±0.19)........ -A 2.75 (±0.10)... A

Here is a full study, you may find different figures, and even if some species can cly for 10-20 hours total, they would get less than 10-20km without favorable wind conditions.

Wind can sweep them kilometers high where they can travel 1000ds of kilometers, as long as they don't freeze, land in the sea, exhaust themselves, or land somewhere without food, it's a good tactic for them.

To measure their energy reserves of insects, they can do this:

The glycogen, sugar and lipid contents of individual adults of four mosquito species (Armigeres subalbatus, Culex quinquefasciatus, Aedes aegypti and A. albopictus) were estimated following standard methods (VAN HANDEL 1965, 1985a, 1985b). Dead and dried mosquitoes were individually homogenized in 0.2 ml 2% sodium sulphate and a few drops of methanol in a 15×155 mm glass tube. This solution was vortexed vigorously, after which a mixture of methanol and chloroform (1:1) was added to it.

The tissues were crushed and then stirred. The mixture was centrifuged ( MOHAN S. et al.: Energy reserves in for co-occurring mosquito species 53 USA) at 2000 RPM for 20 min. The supernatant was transferred into a 15×155 mm glass test tube for the sugar assay, while the precipitate was left for the glycogen and lipid assays. The test tubes containing sugar were heated to evaporate the solution in it to 0.1-0.2 ml. Anthrone solution was added (up to the 5 ml mark), stirred and heated in a water bath for 17 min. Following this the test tubes were cooled in an ice box and then stirred.

The absorbance of the resultant solution was measured at 625 nm in a spectrophotometer (SHIMADZU® UV-17000, India) and compared with glucose standards. To the precipitate left earlier, 0.5 ml chloroform and methanol were added and the whole gently shaken. The mixture was centrifuged at 2000 RPM for 10 min using a centrifuge, yielding a supernatant (containing glycogen) and precipitate (lipid). The supernatant containing glycogen was collected in separate test tubes (15×155 mm, marked up to 10 ml, graduated at 0.1 ml) and then heated well to evaporate the solution. Next, anthrone solution was added to it (up to the 5 ml mark), stirred and heated in a water-bath for 17 min. It was then allowed to cool in an icebox and stirred. The absorbance of the resultant solution was taken at 625 nm using spectrophotometer and compared with glucose standards.

For estimating the lipid content, the precipitate was dissolved in a mixture of methanol: chloroform (1:1). The test tubes (15×155 mm, marked up to 10 ml, graduated at 0.1 ml) were put in a water bath for evaporation and 0.2 ml concentrated sulphuric acid added. Then they were cooled in an icebox and vanilin was added up to the 5 ml mark. The solution was stirred and a reddish colour allowed to develop within 5 min. The absorbance was measured at 525 nm using a spectrophotometer (SHIMADZU® UV-17000, India) and compared with the lipid standard.

* All the standard curves for sugar, glycogen and lipids were prepared with 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 ml concentrations of glucose and lipid solution (mg/ml) using the same reagents, and the same treatment was applied to the mosquito tissues. A schematic diagram of the experimental setup is shown in Fig. 1.*

... that's what they do in the lab!!! sugar, alcohol, it's only missing some fruit and spices.

Dragonfly and Locusts are long distance flight champions, they can cover 1000ds of miles overseas, some dragonflies can feed on the wing. Small animals generally have to feed very often to survive, mice, moths, run out of energy quickly.


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