Mosquito Proboscis

Mosquitoes inspire injection needles, according to a report in ScienceDaily 25 June 2018 and Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, doi: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2018.05.025 published online 18 May 2018.

Scientists and engineers have studied the structure of the mosquito proboscis, and how the mosquito uses it, to find out how mosquitoes are able to bite people without initially causing pain. They found there were four factors involved: a serrated structure in part of the proboscis; variation in stiffness along the length of the proboscis; vibration of the proboscis during insertion; and a protein in the mosquito saliva that has a mild pain-killing effect.  The combination of these factors means the mosquito can pierce the skin using less force, which results in less distortion of the skin.

Bharat Bhushan, a mechanical engineer at Ohio State University, explained: “We can incorporate all of these elements into a microneedle design. Right now, needles are very simple.  There hasn’t been much innovation and we think there’s a way to try something different.”  He went to comment: “We used our engineering background to characterize the parts of the mosquito to figure out how they may contribute to painless piercing.”

Bhushan and his colleagues aim to develop a two-part microneedle system, where one part is used to inject a small dose of anaesthetic and the other is used to draw blood or inject a drug or vaccine.


Editorial Comment: Bharat Bhushan’s comment is significant. Whilst evolutionary biologists believe by blind faith that complex biological structures came about by chance random processes, engineers know that complex structures do not happen by themselves.  If they want to make something that works they must use intelligent, purposeful study to find out how things work, and then use creative design to build somethings that achieves the purpose.

For anyone wondering why God would design such an elaborate system to bite people and spread disease, we remind you that the same system is just as effective at penetrating plants – which is what mosquitoes mostly use it for. Blood sucking only occurs when female mosquitoes need extra protein and iron to lay their eggs.  Otherwise mosquitoes live on plant juices.  For more details see our reports: Thirsty Mosquitoes Seek Blood and Malaria Free Mosquitoes.

Evidence News vol. 18 No. 7
3 July 2018
Creation Research Australia

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