June 5 - As both a disease vector and general nuisance, the mosquito is a scourge all over the world. Its resistance to the effects of sprays and pesticides is widely known but now scientists have revealed just how tough the blood-sucking insect can be. Rob Muir reports.
A single raindrop can weigh 50 times more than a mosquito, yet the insect is barely affected when it gets caught in a downpour. Using high-speed videography, researchers at Georgia Tech have found the mosquitos' strong exoskeleton and low mass combine to neutralise the impact of raindrops. They say they were surrpised at the mosquito's robustness. Scaled up to human size they say, it would be like being hit by a car, yet in laboratory experiments, the mosquitos merelty twisted away from the water to continue their flight. The scientists say their findings could be used to enhance the design of micro-airborne vehicles, increasingly being developed for law enforcement and the military for surveillance and search-and-rescue. Rob Muir, Reuters.