Mosquito Mouths Aren't Just Big Needles

Mosquito Mouths Aren't Just Big Needles

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.

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Key Facts In This Video

  • 1

    About 1 out of 5 people is a particularly appetizing "target" for mosquitos. (0:09)

  • 2

    Some people have specific microbes living on their skin that are especially attractive to mosquitos. (0:54)

  • 3

    Mosquitos are drawn to both movement and heat, which is why outdoor exercise might make you a preferred target. (1:18)

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