How mosquitoes evolved to be attracted to humans, and what that means for the future

A wild female Aedes aegypti mosquito rests in a bucket in Thies, Senegal. The mosquitoes' evolution to bite humans is a by-product of their dependency on breeding in areas close to human water storage containers.

(CNN)Not all mosquitoes are created equal, even if it feels that way when they bite you.

There are about 3,500 species of mosquitoes around the world, but only a few are responsible for spreading infectious diseases to humans.
Among those mosquitoes that are thirsty for human blood is the Aedes aegypti, which is the primary spreader of yellow fever, Zika virus, dengue and Chikungunya virus.
    But how did Aedes aegypti mosquitoes evolve to specialize in biting people? New research published today in the journal Current Biology has revealed that two factors play a major role: dry climate and city life.
    Scientists studied mosquitoes across sub-Saharan Africa and found that mosquitoes actually have wide-ranging palates.
    "There's a huge diversity in mosquito preferences. Some like to bite humans and others don't like to bite humans at all," said the paper's co-author Noah Rose, a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University in New Jersey.
    "At first we thought that mosquitoes who lived around people would simply like to bite people and that those who lived in the forests wouldn't lik