Adding Insult to Injury
Did You Know? Mosquitoes don’t just bite you –They also urinate on you after sucking your blood .
Lareb Qudsi ‘s provocative statement in a Science Bytes post (http://goo.gl/BlbKpZ) was confirmed by this stunning video shot by Jaanus Terasmaa : watch the drops of urine shoot out of this mosquito’s rear end while her stomach bloats with blood. Why does this happen? We figured it out, thanks to the comments and contribution of SoG+ community members.
Community Science : It turns out that the adult female mosquito consumes more than her body weight in blood. The blood meal, which secures proteins and nutrients for developing eggs, is a challenge to the mosquito both physiologically (e.g., salt and volume loading) and ecologically (e.g., increased predation risk) because it makes her slow and heavy. However, water release from her “kidney” (Malpighian tubules) begins while the mosquito is still feeding on blood. Excess salt and water are removed, lightening the flight payload and increasing the mosquito’s chances of survival and successful reproduction. In fact, a chemical that blocks the function of the insect kidney bloats the mosquito, shortens its life span, and can potentially be used as an anti-malarial drug.
Pop Sci Reads:
Refs: 1) Diuresis in Mosquitoes: Role of a Natriuretic Factor (http://goo.gl/f5dvm9)
2) Role of an apical K,Cl cotransporter in urine formation by renal tubules of the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti) (http://goo.gl/qbKKfy)
★ Special thanks to Taryn T. Rampley and Joshua Mars for their comments and to Jaanus Terasmaa for the video.