"Anopheles albimanus mosquito" by Photo Credit: James Gathany Content Providers(s): CDC - This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #7861.

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Ready for takeoff! Load carrying capacity in blood-fed malaria mosquitoes

When a mosquito bites you and drinks your blood, it can easily triple in weight. But to prevent being swatted, the mosquito still needs to be able to take off with this large blood load.

For this reason mosquitoes have evolved a very high in-flight load carrying capacity.

We aim to determine what the maximum carrying capacity in flying mosquitoes is, and which morphological and/or physiological factors set this limit. The student can participate in this project by determining body weight before and after blood feeding for several mosquito species, among which African malaria mosquitoes. By correlating these data with various morphological metrics, such as wing length, the student will study the effect of morphology on flight performance. By correlating load carrying data with various egg quantity/quality metrics, the effect of load-carrying capacity on reproduction success is studied.

Photo by Hugh Sturrock (National Geographic)
Photo by Hugh Sturrock (National Geographic)

This study is part of a research project aimed at studying the flight dynamics of mosquitoes, and is a collaboration between the Experimental Zoology Group and the Laboratory of Entomology at Wageningen University.

Examiner: prof.dr. Johan van Leeuwen
Supervisors: Florian Muijres
Jeroen Spitzen
Contact: Florian Muijres (via contact form)
Credits: 36 ECTS
For: MSc Animal Sciences and Biology
Requirements: completed Functional Zoology (EZO-30806)