Why You Are A Perfect Match For Mosquitoes (Part 1)
You plan a little get together with a group of friends, just a simple day outside. Everything would be perfect if it wasn’t for those damn mosquitoes sucking up all your blood, and apparently only targeting you and leaving everyone else alone. You are not imagining it and now, thanks to research, we know that mosquitoes are selective when looking for a blood donor.
According to Doctor Phil Koehler, professor of entomology at the University of Florida, “Both your metabolism and your unique body chemistry, which is as distinctive as a fingerprint, play an important role in determining whether or not you’re a mosquito magnet.” The doctor also states that your attractiveness to mosquitoes can have the possibility to fluctuate over time.
First let’s get a few facts on the field, so we can have a better understanding of the creatures we will be discussing.
- They are very important to our ecosystem. They might be very annoying to us, but mosquitoes serve as a food supply to a large quantity of animals.
- Blood is not the only thing they eat. When not producing eggs, they will mostly feed on plant juices such as nectar.
- Only female mosquitoes suck blood. They do it because they need the protein and nutrients in our blood for either producing eggs or producing a larger batch of them.
In a Japanese study, researches found that mosquitoes are two times more likely to land and nibble on a person with type “O” blood over a person with type “A” blood. Apparently, we humans excrete a distinctive smell, depending on our blood type. Mosquitoes are able to detect and decode the smell in order to find the most nourishing blood for their future eggs. Once they have located that smell, they will lock on to it until they find it.
Scientists have also discovered that mosquitoes prefer woman that are pregnant. In a Gambian study, researches took 36 pregnant women and 36 non-pregnant women. To perform this study, they took three women from each group every night and put them in individual huts where they slept under a bed net. The next morning they would take the nets and count the number of mosquitoes on each one. The researches found that pregnant woman attracted twice the amount of mosquitoes than non pregnant. The reason woman attracted more mosquitoes when pregnant is due to at least two physiological factors. First, they found that women that are pregnant exhale at a 23 percent rate higher than women who are not expecting. Mosquitoes are known for being attracted to the carbon dioxide and the moisture that is released in exhales we release. Secondly, women that carry a child with in them have hotter abdomens; scientist believe that this causes them to excrete more violate substances that help mosquitoes find them.
In future blogs, we will discover what else attracts mosquitoes to human beings and what we can do to prevent as many of these vampiric attacks on us as possible.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com