Previous Next Mosquito Feeding View Slideshow

They have an undeniable knack for getting under our skin (in more ways than one), but how do mosquitoes find their way to a blood vessel? Research carried out by Valerie Choumet of the Institut Pasteur in Paris uses intravital video microscopy to give us an incredible, close-up view of how these blood-suckers bite.

The study, conducted to visualise how malaria-infected mosquitoes pass on pathogens, revealed that a mosquito's proboscis (the mouth part used for sucking blood) is actually comprised of several parts that spread out once the skin is punctured. The needlelike appendage is also highly flexible allowing the mosquito to probe around under the skin in search of a blood vessel.

The video above shows a mosquito using its proboscis to probe for a blood vessel, while the clip below depicts the separate sections of the insect's mouth parts. Dinner is served!