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Mosquitoes unfazed by rain but grounded by fog

Watch insects survive raindrop bombs

Fog grounds a mosquito from flying but rain is much less of a problem.
Fog grounds a mosquito from flying but rain is much less of a problem. (wjxt)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Don’t count on rainy days to stop the mosquito bite, but you may find more relief on foggy days.

It turns out mosquitoes have a remarkable ability to fly not just in clear skies but also in the rain.

Scientists have shown the flying pests can deftly take flight through raindrops more than 50 times their body mass, yet fog poses a huge challenge.

Mosquitoes are grounded when the fog thickens, according to researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Fog particles surround the mosquito continuously as it flies through an inescapable fog cloud.

Mosquitoes' interaction with heavier raindrops might seem like a bigger challenge compared to fog, but collisions with raindrops in a storm on average occur once every 20 seconds.

Researchers used high-speed videography to observe how heavy fog undermines mosquitoes' primary flight control mechanism.

Small, knobbed structures, called halteres, located on mosquitoes’ hind wings act as flight sensors. They lead to flight failure when tiny fog particles surround the insect.


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