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Mosquitoes In Flight

When you hear that annoying tiny buzz around your head, you know there’s a mosquito flying around nearby. It’s possibly on the hunt for it’s next blood meal. Could it be you that wets the appetite of this disease spreading pest? Mosquitoes spend a lot of time in the air, not only irritating us human beings, but traveling to their next destination where there is potential to spread the diseases they may carry if infected. However, did you know that mosquitoes are not actually that great at flying?

Mosquitoes are actually terrible at flying

Mosquitoes spend a lot of time in the air—it’s how they hunt, find mates, and even lay eggs. But for all the time they’re actually airborne, it turns out they’re not actually that efficient at flying. Unlike similar-sized insects like butterflies or bees, which catch wind with large wing flaps, mosquitoes combine of short wing flaps with a swiveling motion that rapidly moves the wings back and forth, to create pockets of air to launch them into flight and keep them afloat.

The amount of energy they consume by flying, means an increase in their need to refuel, which in turn means they want to feed more… on blood!

It’s a technique of flying that they appear to have mastered well, even though their wingspan to body ratio would appear to be against them. So really, are they that terrible when airborne?

Filming mosquitoes reveals a completely new approach to flight

The work, done by a small team of Japanese and UK researchers, involved setting up a series of eight high-speed cameras to capture every instant of a mosquito’s wing flap from multiple angles. The resulting data allowed them to create a digital model of the wings as they went through a full stroke.

Next time you hear that ‘shuddering’ sound of a mosquito in flight, let it be a reminder as to just how determined these blood suckers are at obtaining their meal. Take preventative measures and protect yourself from mosquitoes at all times.

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