Contrary to the myth, muscles won't make mosquitoes explode. However, cutting their ventral nerve chord, as discovered by Robert Gwadz, reveals intriguing insights into blood-feeding behavior.
When A Mosquito Can’t Stop Drinking Blood, The Result Isn’t Pretty
According to an urban legend, if you tighten your muscles during a mosquito bite, it might cause the muscle to expand and explode as the mosquito feeds on your blood.
Since mosquitoes are sometimes listed as the most hated creatures on Earth, many people may find the thought of being able to make them explode intriguing.
According to Dr. Perran Ross (School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia) it's a myth.
"Having spent the better part of a decade feeding mosquitoes on my own arms for research, I can confidently say that it’s a myth.
There is, however, a way to make mosquitoes actually burst; all it takes is a steady hand and some forceps."
More than half a century ago, Robert Gwadz, Ph.D., discovered the discovery of the first-ever exploding mosquitoes through a simple laboratory study.
He discovered that if a mosquito's ventral nerve chord is cut, the signal to cease feeding is lost, leaving the insect with an insatiable bloodlust.
After this treatment, the mosquitoes may consume more than four times their body weight and eventually burst.
Because of this, Gwadz came up with the theory that abdominal stretch receptors control blood consumption and keep mosquitoes from essentially drinking themselves to death.
Even though the findings of this study are essential to our understanding of mosquito blood-feeding behavior, they are rarely replicated.
Dr. Perran Ross tried to duplicate these results using a straightforward process while doing his own studies using blood-feeding mosquitoes.
The female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are the only ones that feed on blood, were rendered immobile by an hour in the refrigerator.
He then crushed the ventral nerve cord of the mosquito by pinching its abdomen (seen above) with a second pair of forceps after pinning it on its side under a dissecting microscope.
The following day, he allowed the mosquitoes to feed on his arm. Thats when the magic happened.
Some of the more extreme outcomes of the procedure are seen in the video, which should be viewed with caution if you are uncomfortable around blood.
Due to excessive blood consumption, mosquitoes lose their ability to fly and even walk.
Some even went as far as to consume so much that they finally burst.
They frequently fed without realizing that what was going in was coming out the other end, even after their abdomen had burst.
While the outcomes are striking, operating on individual mosquitoes is not a feasible method of managing mosquito populations or lowering the prevalence of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.
However, this understanding of mosquito biology and blood-feeding techniques may stimulate more research and have numerous unexpected uses.
For example, one team of researchers is investigating how mosquitoes distinguish blood from plant nectar.
And the discovery that diet drugs can suppress mosquito appetite came from simple curiosity.
Even if it's unlikely that we desire blood from exploding mosquitoes to fall from the sky, occasionally a ridiculous query leads to a significant scientific discovery.