How a mosquito survives a raindrop hit | Science News

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


News

How a mosquito survives a raindrop hit

Lightweight insects can ride water droplets, as long as they separate in time

By
3:09pm, June 4, 2012

View the video

A raindrop hitting a mosquito in flight is like a midair collision between a human and a bus. Except that the mosquito survives.

New experiments show how the insect’s light weight works in its favor, says engineer David Hu of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. In essence, the (relatively) huge, fast drop doesn’t transfer much of its momentum to a little wisp of an insect. Instead the falling droplet sweeps the insect along on the downward plunge. As Hu puts it, the mosquito “just rides the drop.”

The trick is breaking away from that drop before it and the insect splash into the ground. Mosquitoes that

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content