Kotor is set on a deeply indented bay surrounded by towering mountains. Its walls crumble quietly into the surroundings and there are old churches and fortifications. It was gloriously undiscovered, almost too much so, as we found when we located a ramshackle courtyard cafe that served nothing more than Coke in rusty old cans.
It was before the war and old men muttered darkly about conflict in Kosovo. In the event the conflict arrived closer to the Adriatic at first, in Croatia and then Bosnia.
In the former Yugoslavia in those days it was never hard to find accommodation. Women would crowd you as soon as you got off the bus offering to put you up in their places. We chose a pleasant home down on the shore and crashed out for the night. But about 30 minutes into my sleep I was woken up by an unpleasant buzzing in my ear. I swatted something away but it returned again just as sleep came on.
I switched on the light and saw small black specs on the wall. The whole room was infested with mosquitoes.
For the next two hours I declared war on the mosquitoes, killing droves of them with a rolled up newspaper from my bed. Yet, every time I returned to sleep, the pesky buzzing would return to my ear, as they sought to suck my blood. It wasn't the most pleasant night's sleep I had ever had.
Which brings me to mosquitoes. These insects are a family of small, midge-like flies: the Culicidae.
Unlike most of the other creatures featured here, mosquitoes have absolutely nothing good going for them. The mosquito is, in fact, the most deadly of creatures.
It has been estimated that mosquitoes transmit diseases to almost 700 million people annually resulting in 2 to 3 million deaths every year.
Those itchy, pesky bites are due to an immune response from the binding of IgG and IgE antibodies to antigens in the mosquito's saliva, apparently.
Some of the goodies transmitted by mosquitoes include:
I am particularly paranoid about mosquitoes, particularly after reading this. Mosquitoes like my skin. I'm looking around me nervously as I write this, even though I'm in Starbucks.
Useless Fact About the Mosquito
The females are the ones to watch for, not that you can really tell gender if one is on your skin. In many species, the female has to obtain nutrients from a blood meal before she can produce eggs. For female mosquitoes to risk their lives on blood sucking while bloke mosquitoes abstain, also occurs in some other insect families, such as the Tabanidae.
What Not to Say to a Mosquito
Come on. Do your worst sucker.