Two new studies offer hope in the fight against malaria, a disease that kills a million people a year. Malaria and other diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes, and the insects can use smell to track humans, even when they're hundreds of meters away. Researchers are working to figure out how mosquitoes pick up smells, and then use this information to stop the pesky insects.
— Read (or listen to) the rest of the story at To Stop A Mosquito, Scientists Follow The Nose at NPR.
Make skeeters anosmic, and the world’s at your feet.
First I was side tracked by the idea of attaching an electrode to a fruit fly….
Very interesting research. Thanks for the link.
Oh Daisy…Great minds. I could not read the rest of the article after the part about the electrodes applied to fruit fly scent receptors.
It also made me thing about the smell of blood and how mosquitoes seek it out. I was an HIV counselor in my previous life and I did all of my own draws and I also worked in a blood donation center during college, so I’m very familiar with the smell of blood. I’ve noticed as my nose continues to develop that I can sometimes detect something very similar to that sticky sweet organic coppery fragrance of blood in some perfumes. Jicky jumps to mind. I think it is the coumarin. I suppose I made the coumarin/blood connection because it is a precursor to many anti-coagulant drug and the blood smell that I know is from clinical settings and anti-coagulants are always used in collection vials and other blood products. I guess my recollection of the smell of blood is actually blood plus anti-coagulant and that is why I perceive coumarin it that way.
I hope I didn’t put anybody off their breakfast or turn anybody against Jicky. If you are able to donate blood, please contact your local blood and tissue center and remember to give on a regular basis. It saves lives.
I heard this yesterday on the radio, and thought of some students of mine who loved to answer this question: What’s the one creature we haven’t found a beneficial use for? (As in, any given creature, no matter how dangerous, problematic, disgusting, what have you, ends up serving a useful purpose in the great chain of being.) Their answer? The mosquito. It seems we might end up “sniffing out” the truth to that…
Have we found a beneficial use for fruit flies? Other than in research? (serious question)
Well, now you’ve got me thinking. Language, literature, and philosophy were my realm…going to run fruit flies by the science department. (I might guess something about aiding the decomposition process, but that’s just me playing game show style.)
Oh, that’s ok, was just curious. I know spiders and centipedes are good. Don’t see the point of stink bugs but maybe there is one I don’t know about.
There are worse things: fleas.
Yes, but fleas don’t spread deadly diseases, do they? Or maybe they do, I don’t know.
Black Plague was fleas.
Duh. Thanks, can only chalk that up to a brain freeze.
This reminds me of that recent article on how spiders scent blood.
I have no love for mosquitoes but a friend posted a video on facebook of some mosquitoes having their wings lasered off. It was horible, a high-tech version of bad boys pulling wings off of flies. It was all close-up and slo-mo, and the bugs had serious “what the..?” looks (in my mind anyway). They need to find a way to just kill them outright. Taking away their nosies would make them starve.
(disclaimer – I haven’t read the article yet…)