Me, after watching this video: Hello, fire-store? I'd like to place an order for some of your very best hot, glowing, ignited gas. All of it, please. Yes, your entire stock. I need it for killing.

Things I learned while reading this horrifying piece from Ed Yong, which looks at recent research into what really happens inside the body when a mosquito jams its blood-straw into an animal's skin:

  • Mosquito mouthparts are freakishly flexible. We think of hypodermic needles as these fragile, brittle things. And they are. But a mosquito's blood-sucking kit is like a god-forsaken bendy straw of malaria-ridden doom.
  • What looks like a single blood-sucking apparatus is actually comprised of six distinct mouthparts: a pair of mandibles, a pair of maxillae, a saliva-injecting hypopharynx and a bloodmeal-syphoning labrum.
  • Mosquitos infected with malaria-inducing parasites spend more time probing for blood vessels than their uninfected counterparts. Which is just terrifying and fascinating and awful all at the same time.


Also there's this, in reference to the video up top (emphasis added, because wrrruaaaaaghhhh this gives us the creeps and makes us feel all itchy):

The video... shows what happens when a mosquito finally finds and pierces a blood vessel. On average, they drink for around 4 minutes and at higher magnifications, [Pasteur Institute researcher Valerie Choumet, who conducted the study] could actually see red blood cells rushing up their mouthparts. They suck so hard that the blood vessels start to collapse. Some of them rupture, spilling blood into the surrounding spaces. When that happens, the mosquito sometimes goes in for seconds, drinking directly from the blood pool that it had created.

Read the rest of the grisly details, and watch more videos, over at Not Exactly Rocket Science. For details on the study itself, check out the full paper, free of charge, over at PLoS (includes several videos not included in Yong's writeup).