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Wet and humid swamps provide an optimal habitat for many insect species. Swamps are forested wetlands found in areas of low elevation. They can be freshwater, saltwater or brackish and are usually connected to nearby rivers or streams. Bugs in swamps are essential to the survival of other swamp animals such as fish, birds and amphibians.
Mosquitoes are found all over the world, with the exception of Antarctica. These blood-sucking insects lay their eggs in standing water, making swarms of mosquitoes commonplace in swampy areas. The bite from a mosquito can cause severe itching, and mosquitoes are a major culprit in the spread of diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and West Nile virus. Only female mosquitos suck blood, which it uses to nourish its eggs. Otherwise male and female mosquitos feed on plant nectar.
The dragonfly, identified by bright colors and two pairs of wings, is one of the world's oldest species of flying insects, found in swamps all over the planet. Prehistoric dragonflies once grew to have wingspans as broad as 2 feet; however, modern dragonfly wingspans top out at about 5 inches. Dragonfly larva are aquatic, living in the water for up to two years before taking flight. Adult dragonflies are expert hunters, dining primarily upon mosquitos that they catch with their feet in midair.
Gliding along the surface of standing swamp water are numerous species of water strider. The water strider has extra-long back and middle pairs of legs, which the insect uses to float gracefully on the water surface. This swamp bug feeds upon other dead insects it finds floating on the water, including injured dragonflies. The water strider uses short front legs for catching prey, middle legs to propel himself, and rear legs to steer. The insect is a popular meal for perch, bass, bullfrogs and salamanders.
Many other bugs can be found in the swamps of the world. A large number of butterflies and moths reside in swamp habitats. Various species of beetles, cicadas, toad bugs and biting flies reside in swamps. Pill bugs, also known as sow bugs, are common to swamps. These bugs belong to a family of crustaceans that have evolved to live completely on land. Arachnids such as spiders, harvestmen and ticks inhabit swamps.
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