Mosquitos

Mosquito Mouths Aren't Just Big Needles

Excited for the August 21 eclipse? Visit our Eclipse 2017 page to explore the science, history, and myths of the event. The Curiosity team will be viewing the eclipse alongside NASA in Carbondale, Illinois. Follow us on Facebook for live videos, trivia, and interviews on the big day.

Mosquito mouthparts are more than just big needles. Inside a sheath called the labium, there are six parts that enable the mosquito to drink blood. Two mandibles and two barbed maxillae help to penetrate the skin, allowing two tubes—the hypopharynx and the labrum—to dig around for a blood vessel. Once the mosquito finds one, the labrum sucks up blood while the hypopharynx deposits anticoagulant saliva.

Share the knowledge!

Key Facts In This Video

  1. About 1 out of 5 people is a particularly appetizing "target" for mosquitos. 00:09

  2. Some people have specific microbes living on their skin that are especially attractive to mosquitos. 00:54

  3. Mosquitos are drawn to both movement and heat, which is why outdoor exercise might make you a preferred target. 01:18

If you liked this you'll love our podcast! Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, search 'curiosity' on your favorite podcast app or add the RSS Feed URL.

Advertisement