Mosquitoes evolved to fly away with a belly full of your blood—without you ever noticing

From Popular Science
October 19, 2017

Mosquitoes are weird fliers.

Your typical aeronaut—a sparrow or a fruit fly, for instance—takes flight by jumping into the air. Only once aloft do they begin to flap their wings.

Mosquitoes have the perplexing distinction of doing basically do the opposite. They begin their flight pattern by flapping their wings for 30 milliseconds before jumping into the air. And they beat their wings fast, as much as 800 times per second, when most other insects their size would ordinarily only flap their wings around 200 times.

“One of the key questions of aerodynamics and biomechanics is, why do they fly in a way that doesn’t look efficient?” says Florian Muijres a biomechanics researcher at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Muijres is an author on a recently released study in the Journal of Experimental Biology that looks at why the mosquito might have developed such an unusual manner of flight. It may be a sophisticated way of evading detection.

Read more