Female mosquitoes guzzled human blood until their abdomens burst during an experiment conducted earlier this year by a researcher in Melbourne, Australia.
Close-up footage posted by Dr Perran Stott-Ross on March 19 shows the insects as they consumed blood from his arm.
This video accompanied an article about an experiment which tested the hypothesis that blood ingestion in mosquitoes is regulated by “abdominal stretch receptors” that prevent the insects from drinking themselves to death.
Writing in Entomology Today, Stott-Ross said he first immobilized the insects by putting them in the fridge and crushed their receptors using “a forceps.” The next day he let the bugs feed on his arm, which he said is “a common procedure.”
Stott-Ross said the mosquitoes drank far beyond their fair share of blood and were unable to fly or even walk, while some drank so much that they eventually burst. Other mosquitoes continued to feed long after their abdomen ruptured.
Even though he confirmed the hypothesis, Stott-Ross conceded that performing surgery on individual mosquitos was not an effective way to “control mosquito populations or reduce the incidence of mosquito-borne diseases.”
Stott-Ross is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne. His research is concerned with investigating ways to control insect pest and disease vectors. Credit: Perran Stott-Ross via Storyful
Entomology (from Ancient Greek ἔντομον (entomon), meaning ‘insect’, and -λογία (-logia), meaning ‘study of’) is the scientific study of insects, a branch of zoology. In the past the term “insect” was vaguer, and historically the definition of entomology included the study of terrestrial animals in other arthropod groups or other phyla, such as arachnids, myriapods, earthworms, land snails, and slugs. This wider meaning may still be encountered in informal use.
Like several of the other fields that are categorized within zoology, entomology is a taxon-based category; any form of scientific study in which there is a focus on insect-related inquiries is, by definition, entomology. Entomology therefore overlaps with a cross-section of topics as diverse as molecular genetics, behavior, biomechanics, biochemistry, systematics, physiology, developmental biology, ecology, morphology, and paleontology.
At some 1.3 million described species, insects account for more than two-thirds of all known organisms, some dating back around 400 million years. They have many kinds of interactions with humans and other forms of life on earth.
Entomology is rooted in nearly all human cultures from prehistoric times, primarily in the context of agriculture (especially biological control and beekeeping). The natural philosopher Pliny the Elder, (23 – 79 AD) wrote a book on the kinds of Insects, while the scientist of Kufa, Ibn al-A‘rābī (760 – 845 AD) wrote a book on flies, Kitāb al-Dabāb (كتاب الذباب). However scientific study in the modern sense began only as recently as the 16th century.
William Kirby is widely considered as the father of entomology. In collaboration with William Spence, he published a definitive entomological encyclopedia, Introduction to Entomology, regarded as the subject’s foundational text. He also helped to found the Royal Entomological Society in London in 1833, one of the earliest such societies in the world; earlier antecedents, such as the Aurelian society date back to the 1740s.
Entomology developed rapidly in the 19th and 20th centuries, and was studied by large numbers of people, including such notable figures as Charles Darwin, Jean-Henri Fabre, Vladimir Nabokov, Karl von Frisch (winner of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine), and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner E. O. Wilson.
There has also been a history of people becoming entomologists through museum curation and research assistance, such as Sophie Lutterlough at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Insect identification is an increasingly common hobby, with butterflies and dragonflies being the most popular.
Most insects can easily be recognized to order such as Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, and ants) or Coleoptera (beetles). However, insects other than Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) are typically identifiable to genus or species only through the use of Identification keys and Monographs. Because the class Insecta contains a very large number of species (over 330,000 species of beetles alone) and the characteristics separating them are unfamiliar, and often subtle (or invisible without a microscope), this is often very difficult even for a specialist. This has led to the development of automated species identification systems targeted on insects, for example, Daisy, ABIS, SPIDA and Draw-wing.
In pest control
In 1994, the Entomological Society of America launched a new professional certification program for the pest control industry called the Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE). To qualify as a “true entomologist” an individual would normally require an advanced degree, with most entomologists pursuing a PhD. While not true entomologists in the traditional sense, individuals who attain the ACE certification may be referred to as ACEs or Associate Certified Entomologists.
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