Urine-filled mosquitoes less likely to spread disease
Making bloodsuckers uncomfortable down below may lead to greater control of populations and diseases.
Fri, Mar 05, 2010 at 02:25 PM
Little-known fact: When a mosquito bites you and starts to suck away on your blood, it's also simultaneously urinating on you, according to e! Science News. Adding insult to injury, you may also be contracting a nasty disease such as dengue fever or yellow fever.
In a new paper published by Cornell University, keeping that "gotta go" feeling from being relieved may actually be one way to keep mosquitoes in check. Researchers identified a protein from the renal tubules of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that's involved in promoting urination as they feed on blood. When mosquitoes consume and process blood meals, they must urinate to prevent fluid and salt overloads that can kill them.
In addition, mosquitoes that fail to relieve themselves can also become slow, like "an aircraft with too much payload."
"[If they get too heavy,] they may become more susceptible to being swatted by their host or eaten by a predator," said Peter Piermarini, the paper's lead author.
Such a discovery might lead to new insecticides that wreck havoc on a mosquito's renal system, thus leaving it more limited in its ability to survive the stresses of a blood meal and further transmit viruses.
As MNN reported earlier, scientists are also playing with making male mosquitoes sterile — and females without wings — as further deterrents in the fight against malaria, dengue and yellow fever.
For further reading: New way to control disease-spreading mosquitoes