Videos detail the microscopic horror of a mosquito bite

first_imgEver wondered what actually happens when a pesky little mosquito jabs its proboscis into your flesh? A group of French scientists decided to use a microscope to get a disgustingly detailed look.The YouTube video clips are really quite amazing. What appears to be a straight, needle-like probe turns out to be an incredibly flexible collection of oral appendages. Mandibles and maxillae pierce the skin, with barbed ends allowing the mosquito to latch on. Two other parts, the hypopharynx and the labrum do the dirty work: the former injects anaesthetic saliva and the latter pumps blood out of a victim.Click play below and stare in amazement as an anaesthetised mouse has its skin scoured for delicious blood cells.It’s a much more complex operation than I ever thought. Like most laymen, I’ve always assumed that mosquitoes buzz around irritatingly until they zero in on a juicy spot and then dive in headfirst. Then again, when you’re living in the wilderness that is Northern Manitoba you don’t often pause to admire the intricacy of nature. You either ignore it or smack it down with a vengeance.Those with an affinity for poetic justice sometimes resort to the mosquito-gut-bursting skin pinch. And really, after watching the video, it’s hard to blame them.Once the labrum springs into action, the average mosquito can feed for four full minutes. I’ll leave you with on more very pleasant thought: when mosquitoes are infected with malaria-causing Plasmodium parasites, they tend to spend more time poking around and dribbling bubbles of diseased saliva deep inside the skin.Now then… who wants to go camping?last_img read more