When a Mosquito Can’t Stop Drinking Blood, the Result Isn’t Pretty

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Mosquitoes guzzled human blood until their abdomens burst during an experiment

An urban legend says that if you tense your muscle when a mosquito bites you and feeds on your blood, it can swell up and explode. With mosquitoes often cited as the most hated creature on the planet, the idea of being able to make them burst at will is perhaps an appealing one to many. But, having spent the better part of a decade feeding mosquitoes on my own arms for research, I can confidently say that it’s a myth. There is, however, a way to make mosquitoes actually burst; all it takes is a steady hand and some forceps.

The first ever exploding mosquitoes can be attributed to Robert Gwadz, Ph.D., in a discovery that was made through basic laboratory research over 50 years ago. He found that making an incision in the ventral nerve cord of a mosquito cuts off the signal to stop feeding, giving it an unquenchable thirst for blood. Mosquitoes that have undergone this procedure can drink in excess of four times their weight and may eventually burst. This led Gwadz to a hypothesis that blood ingestion is regulated by abdominal stretch receptors that prevent mosquitoes from (quite literally) drinking themselves to death. (Source Via entomologytoday.org )