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mosquito babies.

From The suns babies by Edith Howes.
Age Rating 2 to 4.

Start of Story

On the top of the pool floated a dainty raft of mosquito eggs, glued together by their careful mother to keep them from sinking. In a day or two tiny wrigglers came out of the eggs, and began to dart about in every direction to find their food. They were the queerest little water-babies! Their bodies were long and jointed, and from every jointed bit little bundles of swimming hairs stuck out on both sides. They had feelers on their heads, and they breathed through their tails--of all strange places! When they wanted a fresh supply of air they stood head downwards in the water, with tails stuck up to breathe. How those babies did wriggle about, to be sure! They seemed never to be still for a moment. They would take in air, then sink to the bottom of the pool and draw in tinier creatures than themselves with their mouth hairs, then, having made their meal, wriggle up again to the top. And every movement was so wonderfully quick! It had to be so, indeed, for young dragon-flies and water-spiders and many other enemies were always waiting to swallow them if the chance came. After a few days the wrigglers changed their shapes in the strangest ways. Funny round shields grew over their heads, and two little tubes grew up from the top of each shield. These tubes stood above the water when the babies were at the top, and now the tail curled round, and was not used for breathing any more, for the babies breathed through the two little tubes.

Under the shield the babies were busily making their wings and growing into mother and father mosquitoes. But though they were so busy, they did not rest; they moved about almost as much as ever, but now their heads were so heavy that they tumbled and bobbed up and down instead of wriggling. So everybody in the pond called them tumblers. Now came their last days in the pond. One by one they pushed themselves out of their old skins, and stood on top of them to dry their wings. Then they left their old home, flying off to the nearest bushes for their first rest, and from there seeking out their food. "We want only juices," said the father mosquitoes; "juices of fruit or sweet green things." But the mother mosquitoes said: "We want blood. Nothing but blood. Where is it? Where is it?"

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