NPR : News

Filed Under:

5 Stars: A Mosquito's Idea Of A Delicious Human

If mosquitoes used Yelp, they might look for their next meal by searching nearby for a heavy-breathing human with Type O blood, sporting a red shirt and more than a smattering of skin bacteria. Preferably either pregnant or holding a beer.

That's some of what we take away from a post today on the Surprising Science blog from the Smithsonian.

The post gives reasons behind some of those preferences, such as mosquitoes' reliance on sensing carbon dioxide to find their next target and a preference for people with higher body heat. But it also adds that if you're a blood-sucker's favorite target, it could simply be a matter of genetics.

As The Two-Way has reported, in 2011 Dutch researchers found "that mosquitoes were more attracted to men with a 'higher abundance but lower diversity of bacteria on their skin,' " and were less attracted to people "with more diverse skin microbiota."

And in May, NPR's Shots blog reported on research finding that mosquitoes "are more attracted to human odors when they're infected with the malaria parasite."

If you're wondering why raindrops don't kill mosquitoes, you can check out a story from last summer by NPR's Richard Harris, who reported:

"Imagine how tough life would be if raindrops weighed 3 tons apiece as they fell out of the sky at 20 mph. That's how raindrops look to a mosquito, yet a raindrop weighing 50 times more than one can hit the insect and the mosquito will survive."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Remembering Robert Swanson, Advertising's 'King Of Jingles'

Robert Swanson revolutionized American advertising and wrote some of the most memorable ad jingles of the 1950s and '60s for products ranging from Campbell's Soup to Pall Mall cigarettes. He died at 95 July 17 at his home in Phoenix, Ariz.
NPR

More Than Just Saying 'Cheese,' Hundreds Sit Test To Become Official Experts

The American Cheese Society will begin proctoring its next Certified Cheese Professional Exam in Des Moines, Iowa, on Wednesday, during the group's annual conference.
WAMU 88.5

Democratic National Convention Day Two: Uniting The Party

An update on day two of the Democratic convention: Bill Clinton takes the stage and ongoing efforts by party leaders to build unity.

WAMU 88.5

How To Help Teens And Children Fight 'Tech Addiction'

Many parents and therapists say obsessive internet use is a very real problem for some teens and children. But the term “internet addiction” is controversial and not officially recognized as a disorder. How to help kids who compulsively use computers and mobile technology.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.