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Virginia Tech Researchers Says Mosquitoes Learn, Can Change Their Hunting Practice.

Virginia Tech Researcher Clément Vinauger

Mosquito-borne illnesses kill one million people every year. And with reports of a brain-swelling virus just discovered in Florida and dozens of people dying from dengue fever In Honduras, the work of a Virginia Tech researcher to foil their hunting patterns becomes more critical.

Mosquitoes  are hunters, and a Virginia Tech Researcher says they are getting better at it.

“We are looking at the processes that allow mosquitoes to be that good and that efficient at what they are doing.”

Tech’s Clément Vinauger and his team fitted mosquitoes with tiny 3D-printed helmets, tethered them in a LED flight simulator and exposed them to puffs of CO2 and changing light patterns

“They are changing their activity time and biting time.”

They track us by our breath and learn when we are likely to be outside, unprotected.

“They are capable of learning and remembering information about us.”

By turning the tables in his lab, Vinauger hopes to find clues on how to outsmart them at their own game.

Currently, mosquito-borne diseases are infrequent in this country. The CDC does provide information on travel to destinations where it might be a problem.

 

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