Monday, March 13, 2006

Picture of larval mosquitoes

A PLoS Biology article on West Nile virus transmission included an amazing picture of mosquito larvae:

Mosquito larvae from PLoS-biology
Culex mosquito larvae. Image from PLoS Biology (Gross 2006); Creative Commons licensed.

Go look at the high resolution version - the beasts are beautiful (and don't worry, only the adult females feed on human blood; these guys just feed on algae, bacteria, and organic debris in the water).

The larvae are even neater in real life, as they normally float with the end of their respiratory tubes just touching the surface of the water, but if you place your hand near the water's surface, all the larvae under your hand swim down. They swim back to the surface shortly after the hand is removed. It's strangely addicting to sit near a tank of mosquito larvae and slowly move your hand over the surface of the water; it's almost like watching some grand dance.

Gross L (2006) A New Model for Predicting Outbreaks of West Nile Virus. PLoS Biol 4(4): e101

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