Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Miraculous Mosquito Legs

Date:
July 17, 2007
Source:
American Physical Society
Summary:
Mosquitoes walk on water better than water striders, cling to smooth ceilings and walls as tightly as geckos, and clutch the skin of their victims with annoying tenacity in search of blood. Now a collaboration of physicists from Dalian University in China and Simon Fraser University in Canada are looking beyond the insect's pesky reputation to discover how the tiny creatures manage to be so comfortable on such a diverse range of surfaces.

A close up of the micronanostructures that help mosquitoes walk on water.
Credit: C. W. WU, X. Q. King, and Diane Wu, Physical Review E

Mosquitoes walk on water better than water striders, cling to smooth ceilings and walls as tightly as geckos, and clutch the skin of their victims with annoying tenacity in search of blood. Now a collaboration of physicists from Dalian University in China and Simon Fraser University in Canada are looking beyond the insect's pesky reputation to discover how the tiny creatures manage to be so comfortable on such a diverse range of surfaces.

Like flies, mosquito feet are equipped with hooked claws for clinging to skin. Like geckos, they have hairy pads on their feet that stick to nearly any smooth surface with a velcro-like grip. But it's their ability to walk on water that really makes mosquitoes stand out in the animal kingdom.

Both water striders and mosquitoes rely on superhydrophobic (extremely water repelling) legs to allow them to stand on pond surfaces. Water striders' legs do a pretty good job of it, repelling water well enough to support up to 15 times their body weight. Mosquitoes, however, can easily beat that. Experiments now reveal that they repel water so well that each of a mosquito's six legs could support 23 times the insect's weight. The physicists measured the water repellant ability of mosquito legs by attaching an amputated leg to the end of a needle and recording the force as they pushed it down into a container of water.

The secret to mosquito water walking appears to be feathery scales a few microns across that in turn are covered with nanoscopic ribbing, forming what the physicists have dubbed (in an apparent fit of excessive prefixing) a micronanostructure. So the next time a mosquito lands on your arm, take a moment to ponder its impressive and versatile leg adaptations -- then squish it before it sucks your blood.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Physical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Physical Society. "Miraculous Mosquito Legs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070716133557.htm>.
American Physical Society. (2007, July 17). Miraculous Mosquito Legs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070716133557.htm
American Physical Society. "Miraculous Mosquito Legs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070716133557.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

China Falls for 4x4s at Beijing Auto Show

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The urban 4x4 is the latest must-have for Chinese drivers, whose conversion to the cult of the SUV is the talking point of this year's Beijing auto show. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Lytro Introduces 'Illum,' A Professional Light-Field Camera

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) The light-field photography engineers at Lytro unveiled their next innovation: a professional DSLR-like camera called "Illum." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins