Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 534626
Title Data from: Escaping blood-fed malaria mosquitoes minimize tactile detection without compromising on take-off speed
Author(s) Muijres, F.T.; Chang, S.W.; Veen, W.G. van; Spitzen, J.; Biemans, Bart; Koehl, M.A.R.; Dudley, R.
Department(s) WIAS
Experimental Zoology
Laboratory of Entomology
Publication type Dataset
Publication year 2017
Keyword(s) malaria mosquito - aerodynamics - biomechanics - flight behaviour - insect - take-off maneuvers - wingbeat kinematics - muscle morphology - Anopheles coluzzii
Abstract To escape after taking a blood meal, a mosquito must exert forces sufficiently high to take off when carrying a load roughly equal to its body weight, while simultaneously avoiding detection by minimizing tactile signals exerted on the host's skin. We studied this trade-off between escape speed and stealth in malaria mosquitoes, Anopheles coluzzii, using 3D motion analysis of high-speed stereoscopic videos of mosquito take-offs and aerodynamic modelling. We found that during the push-off phase, mosquitoes enhanced take-off speed by using aerodynamic forces generated by the beating wings in addition to leg-based push-off forces, whereby wing forces contributed 61% to the total push-off force. Exchanging leg-derived push-off forces for wing-derived aerodynamic forces allows the animal to reduce peak force production on the host's skin. By slowly extending their long legs throughout the push-off, mosquitoes spread push-off forces over a longer time window than insects with short legs, thereby further reducing peak leg forces. Using this specialized take-off behavior, mosquitoes are capable of reaching take-off speeds comparable to those of similarly-sized fruit flies, but with weight-normalized peak leg forces that were only 27% of those of the fruit flies. By limiting peak leg forces, mosquitoes possibly reduce the chance of being detected by the host. The resulting combination of high take-off speed and low tactile signals on the host might help increase the mosquito's success to escape from blood-hosts, which consequently also increases the chance that they transmit vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, to future hosts.
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