Have you ever wondered how a tiny mosquito can produce something so irritating and possibly dangerous?
How does a tiny creature like this leave you with such an annoying, ugly, itchy bite? How did this diminutive pest become the most deadly organism on planet earth? A mosquito, with a perfectly functioning anatomy, is very sophisticated at getting the nutrition it needs to create generation after generation of mosquitoes. It is a necessary feature for a species that has survived for almost 100 million years.
Watch this fantastic video from the Deep Look YouTube channel. You can see how the mosquito bite works through a microscopic lens.
The Anatomy of a Mosquito Bite
Only female mosquitoes bite humans and other animals. They must have a blood meal to create eggs for reproduction. To effectively get the blood needed, the female mosquito has a sophisticated set of six needle-like appendages.
Inside a protective sheath lies the six needles. Each of the six needle-like appendages has a a needed function for biting and getting the much-needed proteins from blood.
- Two have tiny teeth so sharp you can barely feel it as she cuts through the skin.
- Two keep the skin apart while she works, like small little forceps.
- One of the mosquito’s needles probes through the skin looking for blood. This needle-like appendage has receptors for finding the blood vessel. She uses this same needle like a straw to suck out your blood.
The last of the six needles secretes chemicals into your skin to help your blood flow easily, giving you itchy, ugly welts. This is how mosquito-borne viruses are spread so efficiently. An infected female mosquito makes the perfect vector for disease.
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