4 of a bed bugs 6 feet. Disease may be transmitted via the body parts of insects.
The Vector project uses images from a Scanning Electron Microscope to document how insects transmit disease and the resulting impact on economies and individuals in the United States and developing nations around the world. Images are captured to be printed at over 8 feet x 8 feet.
Though both the male and female mosquito's antennae are covered with an extensive network of sensilla, they are very different in function. While the female antenna has a variety of sensilla to assist her in a multitude of activities, such as finding blood meals and egg-laying, the male antenna, seen in this picture, contains specializations that allow it to sense and evaluate sound frequencies. Males are listening for the wing-beats of females.
All mosquitoes have a Johnston’s sensory organ. Located at the base of the antenna, it registers the sound waves sensed by the antenna. Males have a greater ability than females to sense vibra- tions due to the length of their antennal sensilla, which resonate at the frequencies produced by females.
Some mosquitoes can beat their wings up to 500 times per second, creating the “hum” commonly identified with the insect. This sound allows mosquitoes to locate each other for mating. Mosquitoes can modulate the frequency of their wing beats and will do so in response to the flight tone of other mosquitoes, creating a type of mosquito-to-mosquito communication. Within seconds, a male and female mosquito of the same species will match wing-generated frequencies, often in perfect synchrony.
Generally speaking, a mosquito’s wings can move the insect at a rate of 1 to 1.5 miles an hour, though they can use gravity to achieve higher speeds over a short distance. The Anopheles mosquito can fly for up to four hours continuously and travel up to 7.5 miles at night.
Mosquitoes have some of the most sensitive eyes in the insect world—not surprising since they hunt when it is dark. Each compound eye is composed of hundreds of tiny lenses, seen here, which are made up of groupings of sensory cells that respond to light. Each individual lens registers a slightly different picture that, when processed simultaneously, is a very efficient way of registering the visual environment. Compound eyes, common in insects, are used for navigation and for sensing movement, patterns and contrast, as well as color.
The range over which a mosquito can “see” a target is difficult to calculate. In experiments, most species could be attracted to traps at a distance no greater than 15–20 meters. But, compound eyes have limitations. They are not equipped to distinguish you from any other object of similar shape and size.
The end of a mosquito’s foot is multi-functional and plays a critical role in its feeding process. The sensory organs both assist the mosquito in landing and are also thought to help in the search for blood. The hooked claws can cling to skin to create a secure platform when the mosquito lands. Feathery scales, about 25 microns long, protect the sensilla on the leg while increasing utility by generating friction.
Mosquito legs are also superhydrophobic (extremely water repellant). Experiments confirm they repel water so successfully that each of a mosquito’s six legs could support 23 times the insect’s weight and still not sink.
The female's mosqueto antennae are covered with different types of functioning sensory organs called sensilla. All the sensilla, which look like hairs extending from this center trunk, register chemical, mechanical, and thermal stimulation. They can sense moisture, lactic acid, body heat, and movement. These sensilla function much like our ears and nose, allowing mosquitoes to locate, track, and eventually feed upon their prey.
The largest sensillum in this picture is thought to assist in directional flight and is essential in navigating the mosquito to its human target. Some of the smaller sensilla are involved in egg laying. The very small sensilla, and there are only a few in this picture, are used to find blood meals.
When we are “bitten” by a insect what we are actually feeling is the insertion of the proboscis. In actuality, it would be more accurate to describe this attack as being stabbed. The insect lands, probes for blood, and then inserts the proboscis to drink.
The photograph seen here is the very tip of a mosquito's proboscis, the first part of the mosquito’s “mouth” to come into contact with our skin. After penetrating the skin, mosquitoes thrust their stylets back and forth hoping to locate a blood vessel. Needing the protean in our blood for their eggs this is the point that diseases such as malaria are transmitted.
Mosquito saliva is injected into the microscopic wound to facilitate the locating and piercing of blood vessels. The saliva of infected mosquitoes contains malaria parasites. Even if the mosquito chooses not to feed, the illness may still be transmitted.
The female mosquito’s maxillary palp is a structure that runs parallel to the proboscis. Like the antennae, palps are covered with different types of sensory organs called sensilla. But unlike those on the antenna, sensilla on the palps respond dynamically to the presence of CO2. These organs are remarkably sensitive, able to distinguish a 00.01% change in CO2 concentrations. It is thought that a mosquito can use this sensitivity to identify targets that are over 36 meters away.
These club-shaped olfactory receptors, seen in this picture, are responsible for the increased malaria risk faced by pregnant women who have elevated CO2 production.