The grisly scenario includes 6 needle-like parts, some equipped with teeth to ‘saw’ through the skin.
The video series Deep Look, the always-awesome collaboration between KQED San Francisco and PBS Digital Studios, creates really great ultra-HD videos showing the teeny-tiny world of science in incredible detail. But the latest edition – subtly titled “How Mosquitoes Use Six Needles to Suck Your Blood” – has me so creeped out I was actually struck by involuntary shudders and cringing upon viewing it. It’s that gory! And for that, of course, it’s so good.
If you’ve ever wondered how a wee little insect like a mosquito could become the world’s deadliest animal, it’s because, basically, they are perfectly designed to do their thing. And the tools they have developed to dine on humans are pretty high-tech.
The mouth is comprised of a retractable sheath which reveals six needle-like parts that the she-mosquitoes so flippantly pierce our skin with. Two of those “stylets” have little serrations to help saw through the flesh. Nice. Another pair of needles holds the tissue apart for best slurping and facilitate the fifth needle, which probes beneath the skin looking for blood. Meanwhile, the sixth needle delivers a chemical drip to make the whole shebang run smoothly … and which leaves many of us with itchy welts. That saliva secretion is also how dangerous viruses and parasites are delivered.
But words on a screen do the whole biting ballet no justice, watch it for yourself here. Enjoy the soft slurping sounds of the evil little monsters, and I pretty much guarantee you will be checking your window screens as soon as the credits roll. Enjoy!