How Mosquitoes Survive The Rain
The coming of the summer heat also means a new season of mosquitoes, their bites, and their buzzing. They seem to withstand almost anything, and new research shows us exacly how a mosquito can even survive flying in a downpour, with raindrops weighing 50 times the mosquito.
The mosquito has a strong exoskeleton and such a small mass that when a raindrop hits the mosquito, the drop loses little momentum. This translates to low-impact.
"The most surprising part of this project was seeing the robustness this small flyer has in the rain," said doctoral student at Georgia Tech, Andrew Dickerson. "If you were to scale up the impact to human size, we would not survive. It would be like standing in the road and getting hit by a car."
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The team used high-speed film to capture the mosquitoes flying through various streams of water that simulated a rain stream. None of the mosquitoes died from the water.
"The collision force must equal the resistance applied by the insect," said David Hu, team leader and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering. "Mosquitoes don't resist at all, but simply go with the flow."
They then tested the mosquitoes flying through raindrops. They found that the drop usually ends up adheres to the mosquito until it is finally able to get rid of it.
"To survive, the mosquito must eventually separate from the front of the drop," Hu said.
"The mosquito accomplishes this by using its long legs and wings, whose drag forces act to rotate the mosquito off the point of contact. This is necessary, otherwise the mosquito will be thrown into the ground at the speed of a falling raindrop."