Everybody knows that mosquitoes are bastards. The other day, we learned this has been true for 46 million years. And with next month’s release of Sucker, the story of a suicidal man transformed into a vengeful mosquito, it's time we confronted these creatures. Here are the most horrible mutated mosquitoes of all time.
Top image: Sucker (2013).
Mutant Mosquitoes from Skeeter:
Directed by former 80’s teen idol, Clark Brandon, 1992’s Skeeter holds the distinction of being the first true blue killer mosquito film. Spawned from vats of toxic waste unearthed by a crooked land developer (Jay Robinson, channeling Angus Scrimm by way of Sydney Greenstreet), the mutant “skeeters” of the film’s title plague the town of Clear Sky, California, as they lay waste to its livestock, leaving behind a string of eerie cattle mutilations in their wake.
Featuring a smorgasbord of ill-fated character actors — including William Sanderson (serving double duty as both the Harbinger of Doom and obligatory Matt Hooper proxy: this time, a suspicious water inspector!), Michael J. Pollard, George “Buck” Flower, and the great Charles Napier as the estimable Sheriff Ernie Buckle — the film keeps the killer insect genre squarely inside its 1950’s ecological origins: at the end of the day, the mosquitoes are ultimately felled by an avant-garde shrapnel sculptor and his trusty flamethrower.
Mutant Mosquitoes (eagle-sized) from Mosquito:
In 1995, director Gary Jones gave us his louder, gorier response to Skeeter with the (theatrically released!) Mosquito. When a fallen UFO sinks into a remote swamp in Michigan, the craft’s radioactive propulsion nacelles contaminate the local mosquito population, hatching bloodthirsty mutants. With chainsaw duels, Gunnar Hansen, and Ron Asheton (lead guitarist for the Stooges) playing a park ranger, Mosquito apparently sought to nullify the comparatively restrained Skeeter — including an infamous scene where a feeding mosquito causes her victim’s eyes to hellishly rocket from his screaming, prolapsed head. A staple of the USA and Syfy networks, Mosquito has garnered a small but undeniably potent cult following over the years: second-hand copies of the out-of-print DVD reach upwards of $400 on Ebay and Amazon.
Mosquitoes from Jumanji:
The first animals to be conjured by the board game, a trio of huge, Paleozoic mosquitoes attack Judy and Peter after rolling the dice and receiving a threatening riddle: “A little bite will make you itch. Make you sneeze, make you twitch.”
Naturally, Judy takes arms, sending the lead bug spiraling from her attic window with a well-placed tennis racket, as the others follow suit. Later, the vengeful insects return to break Alan’s windshield, but are handily smeared away.
The Stirge from Dungeons & Dragons:
A species of dungeon-crawling mosquito the size of a flying housecat, the Stirge (named for the Striges: vampiric owls of Roman mythology), are easily identified by their large mating pincers, pink, pallid proboscises and four, unique sets of webbed, bat-like wings. Though Stirge typically pair in small, evenly numbered groups, swarms are not uncommon, consisting of fourteen or more to a flock. In volumes, these colonies are referred to as “storms”.
Zancudo from 2000AD
In an early contribution to 2000AD from writer Si Spurrier and artist Cam Kennedy, a pair of Ciudad Paranquilla judges piloting a criminal transport ship crash land on the future-flung Machu Picchu – now, a mosquito-strewn hellzone called Zancudo Picchu. As the “malaria plasmatron” infested overlords enslave the humans living in the region’s outer megacities, the Zancudo queen demands a daily blood tithe – but an insurrection is looming, and mosquitoes, we learn, weren’t the first giant insects to rule Peru. Never reprinted, the three-part miniseries, Zancudo, can be read in Judge Dredd Megazine 231-233.
Mosquito Columns from Uzumaki:
In the tenth chapter of Junji Ito’s horror manga, Uzumaki, a sudden surge in the mosquito population (flying in drowsy, spiraling patters) causes ravenous swarms to descend upon the pregnant women of Japan. As the victims recover at the Kurôzu-cho hospital, columns of male mosquitoes hang outside, ominously waiting to mate. Inside, the wounded women develop an appetite for the blood of their doting orderlies.
Screwloose from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
An alien mosquito introduced in 1990 as an enemy/ally of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Screwloose made his television debut alongside vampire bat cohort, Wingnut, in season five’s Zack and the Alien Invaders. There, the duo hatched a plan to brainwash children by unleashing robotic cockroaches at a military academy. Though Screwloose only served to appear in a single episode, followers of the Archie Comics series will remember his role in the Mighty Mutanimals, a short-lived, eco-friendly spinoff showcasing the franchise’s wider action figure range.
After the cancellation of the Mutanimals title in light of poor sales — and due to the frustration of creator Stephen Murphy, whose planned animated series at DiC failed to materialize — the Mutanimals returned to the pages of TMNT Adventures, only to be slaughtered in a drive-by shooting at the hands of android thrill killers (by command of an evil industrialist who may-or-may-not have also been Satan).
Screwloose’s final appearance in the book showed the character, alongside Wingnut and the other Mutanimals – (though minus the voodoo-spawned alligator, Leatherhead, interestingly) burning in the fires of hell — a move convincing former Archie editor, Victor Gorelick – to cancel the TMNT comic book, as well.
Needlenose from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
The unholy fusion of mosquito and professional jet pilot, “Mega Mutant” Needlenose served as an ally to the Turtles so large he could be ridden like a Pegasus. Though very little information has been provided on the character’s origins (he was created by Krang, though “bugnapped” by Donatello), it’s clear the formerly human tongue of Needlenose has since mutated into an ejector seat.
Mosquitor from Masters of the Universe:
Henchman to Hordak, the “evil, energy-draining insectoid” Mosquitor never made it to the Masters of the Universe or She-Ra animated series, but could be occasionally seen firing lasers from his proboscis in the “Masters” tie-in comic from Marvel. Fortunate owners of the action figure, however, were welcomed to a mini-comic showcasing the character (he helps spawn a hologram duplicate of the Sorceress, whom he exsanguinates).
Mosquitor, the toy, featured a fully transparent chest, revealing a sloshing red ooze and a button on his back, that, when pressed, would scatter the ichor in dripping, digestion-simulating patterns. In a prior article posted on io9, Mosquitor was dismissed as one the “Most Unfortunate” toys in the Masters of the Universe line. This is clearly not true — his head alone looks like a beaked, blood-sucking spaceship.
Transquito from Transformers: Beast Wars:
During its transformation from insect to robot, Transquito’s proboscis would invert into a stream of projectile vomit, which could be fired like a missile by pressing a growth on its head. An ancillary third transformation saw him transform into an amblypygid. For reasons that remain unclear, the figure sold so poorly, it can occasionally still be found on the shelves of some overstock retail stores across the country.
Swamp Mosquito from Magic: the Gathering:
The seemingly innocuous Swamp Mosquito carried, along with various diseases, the distinction of being Magic’s first flying creature to deal added damage in the form of “poison counters” – instruments of a slow, accumulating death-by-venom offering players an alternate method to win (and lose) the game.
These creatures are notoriously difficult to handle. In fact, only one card in the entirety of Magic’s twenty-year history can deal with them – Leeches – which siphon the poison at the cost of one point of damage per counter. Long after its original printing, the Swamp Mosquito was functionally usurped by a stronger, more versatile successor — an “insect-horror” called the Plague Stinger. Still in essence a mosquito, the Stinger more closely resembled a bat, She-Ra’s nemesis Hordak, and a whip scorpion.
Stinger from Star Trek: Voyager:
An antagonist in the Adventures of Flotter children’s holonovel series, Stinger, “the biggest mosquito you’ve ever seen”, met six-year old Katherine Janeway in a story where the Forest of Forever faced a crippling drought. On hearing the suggestion that she divert the river, the young Janeway flooded the entire forest, thereby causing Stinger’s egg to hatch. This is mentioned in the fifth episode of season five, “Once Upon a Time”.
The Pandemic in I Am Legend:
In Richard Matheson’s novel, the vampire pandemic afflicting the whole of humanity is birthed by a sudden upswing in the mosquito population. Serving as carriers for a deadly strain of bacteria able to infect both living and dead hosts, it’s discovered direct sunlight and the infliction of deep wounds on the indisposed will kill the Culicidae-born disease, transforming its pestilence from an anaerobic symbiont to an aerobic parasite.
Skeetera from Godzilla: the Animated Series:
Hailing from the Florida Everglades, the monster known as Skeetera was once presumed to have been a normal mosquito before ingesting mutated Kaiju blood — adapting the size and characteristics of its monstrous host in consequence. While in combat with “Zilla”, Skeetera managed to dehydrate herself after acquiring fire breath, leading to her capture and relocation on MonsterIsland.
Shortly after, the eco-terrorist group S.C.A.L.E. (Servants of Creatures Arriving Late to Earth) staged a mass breakout on the island, freeing Skeetera and the other incarcerated monsters. During the incident, she systematically absorbed the attributes of her fellow loosed giants, before being tail-slapped into a power plant and electrocuted by Zilla. Skeetera can be seen in “S.C.A.L.E.”, a second season episode of the frankly underrated Godzilla: the Animated Series.
Mosquiras from Kamen Rider:
First in the Kamen Rider franchises’ enduring lineage of mosquito-based monster terrorists, Mosquiras proved to be a threat so powerful, it took the combined might of both the first and second Kamen Rider to defeat him –- with the latter making a dramatic return to the series just for the occasion. Together, the duo delivers Mosquiras the “Rider Double Kick” – a blow so devastatingly furious, its victims boil from within.
Camera-Mosquito from Kamen Rider V3:
A cyborg-mutant with the ability to physically remove and assimilate human faces for his own (leaving his victims with featureless, fleshy heads), Camera-Mosquito was hired by the evil Doktor G to extract and kill Interpol agents hiding within the terrorist organization, Destron. He’s killed midair by Kamen Rider V3’s “Body Attack” while attempting to escape with incriminating microfilm.
Bubunga from Kamen Rider Stronger:
An agent of terrorist organization Black Satan, the child-snatching, rapier-wielding Bubunga spearheaded a bizarre plot to abduct children who had recently won bags of seahorse eggs at an orienteering competition.
Fortunately, the seventh Kamen Rider is able to defeat the monster with his trademark move, the “Stronger Electro Kick”, sending him deep into the Pacific Ocean where he violently explodes. The Rider then saves Bubunga’s victims – a quartet of exsanguinated campers — with a four-way simultaneous blood transfusion.
Madarakajin from Kamen Rider Skyrider:
A mosquito monster from Borneo whose right arm is a smallpox-spraying syringe, Madarakajin hatched a scheme to unleash poison gas at an amusement park, but was defeated by Kamen Rider Skyrider.
He was killed when Skyrider used the monster’s neck scarf to swing the total weight of his body like a human morning star, allowing the Rider ample opportunity to kick the unfortunate, dizzied monster repeatedly until he exploded. Madarakajin’s secret weapon, the “Mosquito Gun-Shot” was a telescoping machine gun concealed inside his labium.
Culex Worm from Kamen Rider Kabuto:
An enemy of Kamen Rider Kabuto, Culex Worm was a “master of the dark cooking arts”, capable of manipulating people’s emotions with his impressive culinary skills. Having obtained a magic knife, he intended to take over the world with his delicious cooking, but was killed by a lethal “Rider Kick” from Kabuto.
Sucker from Power Rangers: Ninja Storm:
A mouth-themed mosquito monster of Lothor’s, Sucker’s bite transforms his victims into human/insect hybrids – an act he successfully commits upon the Green Ranger. In episode eighteen of the series, Sucker is the first to be killed by the Samurai Storm Megazord, and shatters into pieces.
Giant Mosquito from Underdog:
In an episode of Underdog, Colonel McBragg recounts the time he battled a giant mosquito. After having his cabin carried away by the beast, McBragg saws off the insect’s stinger, upsetting its balance and spiraling it back towards the Earth. Interestingly, something very similar happens in 1995’s Mosquito.
The Mosquito from Hilarious House of Frightenstein:
This mosquito, played by Mitch Markowitz – the future screenwriter of Good Morning, Vietnam (!) – appeared in every episode of the Canadian children’s horror series to deliver an insect-themed joke (usually involving phlebotomy), just before feeding on the giant human foot behind him. His arrival is marked by a kazoo-performed rendition of Flight of the Bumblebee.
Mosquito in Amber from JurassicPark:
Of course, it was a mosquito trapped in amber that provided John Hammond the bloody DNA necessary to manufacture his island of cloned dinosaurs in Jurassic Park.
Unfortunately, the species presented in the film – Toxorhynchites rutilus – is the only non-hematophagic mosquito of the 2,700 known to science, and does not drink blood at all. Its hairy antenna suggests it’s a male mosquito, too: as males do not lay eggs, it wouldn’t have reason to drink blood, regardless. Oops.
Whether this was a mistake or an in-joke remains to be seen.
Giant Mosquito from Eek! The Cat:
In a memorably disturbing moment from the Fox Kids’ animated series, the gregarious Eek leads a band of pirates to a deadly island in search of lost treasure, guarded by a covetous monster. As they make their way through the jungle, a particularly robust pirate boasts of his immunity to insect bites, only to have a large mosquito inhale the totality of his bodily fluids through the top of his cranium.
The pirate spends the rest of the episode as a desiccated stick figure until meeting his end jumping off a bridge, following the lead of an unwise crewman. Eek and the surviving pirates mourn, “They’ve gone to a better place…”, as the cartoon cuts to the victims flailing in pain, eaten alive by river monsters resembling fanged gym socks.
Giant Mosquito from Space Family Robinson:
In the second issue of the Gold Key comic book series, a giant mosquito terrorizes the surface of the planet Syltron. Piloting the spacemobile, Tim and Tam Robinson aim two concussive blasts at the creature’s head, delivering a killing blow by ramming full speed into the poor thing’s clypeus. Left to die on the alien planet’s surface, the native Syltrons finish it off with a lethal injection of “death serum”.
Alien Mosquitoids from LEGO’s Galaxy Squad:
Fortunately for everyone, LEGO has recently entered the fray with the latest expansion in its "space" range. The Galaxy Squad takes arms against "Alien Mosquitoids", a race of cocoon-spewing warlords from the Planet Selva Galaxy, intent on remaking the universe into a gigantic, swampy hive.
Mansquito from Mansquito:
Syfy's contribution to the genre, 2005's Mansquito, spun the tale of Dr. Jennifer Allen — an immunologist seeking to cure a deadly insect-born disease called the Gillian Virus. Dr. Allen's catastrophic mistake comes in the form of Ray, a convict recruited to participate in her experiments against the virus with radiation therapy.
A hail of gunfire, an explosion, and the melding of man with experimental, nuclear-tinged bugs gives birth to the godless chimera of the title, who spends the duration of the film molting and puking acid on his enemies...all the while seeking his Womansquito: Dr. Jennifer Allen!
Mosquito Man from Marvel Comics:
An aspiring superhero named Mosquito Man attempted to convince Stan Lee he was a suitable successor to the Spider-Man legacy, but Stan was not impressed. From Stan Lee Meets the Amazing Spider-Man #1.
Mosquito from The Futurians:
As member of Dave Cockrum’s Futurians — a team of superheroes from the present who were genetically manipulated in the future, former gymnast Dana Morgan took the mantle of the Mosquito, carrying a suitably pointy, anesthetic-firing pistol. Her shoulder-mounted wings could fire ultrasonic blasts capable of ripping metal.
Mr. Mosquito from Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot vs. the Mutant Mosquitoes from Mercury:
Mr. Mosquito, a resident of Mercury who finds its conditions uninhabitable, decides to terraform Earth with his legion of “Mutant Mosquitos”, but is opposed by Ricky Ricotta and his Mighty Robot. From the second book in Dav Pilkey’s series.
Mosquito from How a Mosquito Operates:
In this animated film from Winsor McCay, a home-invading mosquito feeds on a sleeping fat man until he gorily explodes. In 1912, the film was incorporated into McCay’s vaudeville act, and received rapturous responses from audiences nationwide.
Blood Suckers from Marchon:
The Blood Suckers was a series of pens from toy company Marchon, in the shape of red-eyed mosquitos and somehow equally mosquitoid-looking vampire bats. A red liquid in the handle would lift upward when tilted, simulating blood ingestion when the pen was pressed to skin or paper.
Giant Mosquitoes from Food of the Gods:
In Bert I. Gordon’s film adaptation of the H.G. Wells story, several oddly transparent mosquitoes descend on Marjoe Gortner and company, before being dispelled by his shotgun-toting posse. They're among the first giant animals we seen in the film. The optical effects — fortunately — only improve from here.
Large Mosquito in Caveman:
Legendary staple of Encore Love, Encore Action, Encore Family and Encore, 1981’s Caveman features a brief moment of Ringo Starr smearing insect guts on Dennis Quaid’s Neolithic face.
Mister Mosquito from Mister Mosquito:
Mister Mosquito was the insect-protagonist of the self-titled video game, set upon discretely sucking the blood of a Japanese family. Released in 2002 for the Playstation 2.
Mosquito! From Popcorn:
Perhaps the single greatest oversight of the 1950’s mutant boom – a decade that blessed us with goliath scorpions, crabs, mantids and unblinking, jawless sea snails — was its failure to produce a solitary mosquito film. 1991’s slasher/comedy Popcorn rectifies this failure.
With a deformed killer stalking a movie theater, a group of film students’ organized screening of the rare, fictitious 1950s movie “Mosquito!” is disrupted by a string of savage, behind-the-scenes murders. In one instance, a William Castle-esque zip-lining mosquito suspended from the ceiling impales a performing crewman. During the mayhem, we’re treated to the “film-within-a-film” Mosquito sucking out a man’s brain as his head shrivels like a deflated basketball.
The Animorphs in “mosquito morph” form, from Animorphs: The Decision:
Not to be outdone, the Animorphs transformed themselves into mosquitoes in the eighteenth book of K.A. Applegate’s series (courtesy of Cassie, who was tasked with separating the males from the females).
Planning to infiltrate a Yeerk-infested hospital in hopes of retrieving DNA from a comatose secret service agent, the team is waylaid when an accident in Z-Space exploits the extra mass missing from their mosquito-forms, and pulls them towards an Andalite ship. As a mosquito, Ax is aptly able to avoid the gunfire of pursuing Controllers, which dedicated series readers will remember being really cool.
Terravores from Doctor Who: The Crimes of Thomas Brewster:
The Doctor faces an onslaught of robotic mosquitoes called “Terravores” (not to be confused with the fly-headed Tritovore, as seen in Planet of the Dead) serving as mob assassins in a Sixth Doctor audio drama from Big Finish.
Hailing from the planet Symbios, a pulsating world with rivers of blood, trees of bone, and root-like throbbing veins, the Terravores are mysterious constructs capable of turning their prey into diamonds. After a temporal bridge forms between Earth and Symbios, the Terravore legions, naturally, head straight for the London Underground.
SlaughterSwamp Fairies in Seven Soldiers:
In issue #0 of Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers of Victory, mosquito-riding fairies infest the bogs of SlaughterSwamp.
Mosquito bites in The X-Files:
On their very first assignment, agents Mulder and Scully investigate a rash of deaths hailing from the same graduating high school class – in which each of the victims bear the same raised welts on their lower back. Believing she too is marked, Scully asks Mulder to inspect her as she poses in her underwear, only to be reassured the similar-looking lesions are simply mosquito bites. She puts her arms around him in relief and they talk about their lives. A pivotal bonding moment for the pair, this scene from the pilot episode, “Pilot”, gets a callback in the series finale nine years later.
The Anophelii from China Mieville's The Scar:
An island race of humanoid mosquitoes, the deadly Anophelii appear in the second installment of Mieville's Bas Lag trilogy, under the agency of the Malarial Queendom. The species harvests secrets from sea life cultivated on alien worlds.