Current Weather
The Spy FM

5 Stars: A Mosquito’s Idea Of A Delicious Human

Filed by KOSU News in Science.
July 12, 2013

If mosquitoes used Yelp, they might look for their next meal by searching nearby for a heavy-breathing human with Type O blood, sporting a red shirt and more than a smattering of skin bacteria. Preferably either pregnant or holding a beer.

That’s some of what we take away from a post today on the Surprising Science blog from the Smithsonian.

The post gives reasons behind some of those preferences, such as mosquitoes’ reliance on sensing carbon dioxide to find their next target and a preference for people with higher body heat. But it also adds that if you’re a blood-sucker’s favorite target, it could simply be a matter of genetics.

As The Two-Way has reported, in 2011 Dutch researchers found “that mosquitoes were more attracted to men with a ‘higher abundance but lower diversity of bacteria on their skin,’ ” and were less attracted to people “with more diverse skin microbiota.”

And in May, NPR’s Shots blog reported on research finding that mosquitoes “are more attracted to human odors when they’re infected with the malaria parasite.”

If you’re wondering why raindrops don’t kill mosquitoes, you can check out a story from last summer by NPR’s Richard Harris, who reported:

“Imagine how tough life would be if raindrops weighed 3 tons apiece as they fell out of the sky at 20 mph. That’s how raindrops look to a mosquito, yet a raindrop weighing 50 times more than one can hit the insect and the mosquito will survive.” [Copyright 2013 NPR]

Leave a Reply

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center