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J Exp Biol. 2013 Mar 15;216(Pt 6):952-9. doi: 10.1242/jeb.072710. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

Effect of fluid viscosity on the liquid-feeding flow phenomena of a female mosquito.

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  • 1School of Interdisciplinary Bioscience and Bioengineering, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Pohang Gyeongbuk, Republic of Korea.


Liquid-sucking phenomena by the two-pump system of female mosquitoes were investigated to understand the feeding mechanism. In most previous experimental studies on liquid-feeding insects, the net increase of mass was divided by the feeding time and fluid density to evaluate the intake rate. However, this weighting method is not so precise for mosquitoes, because they are too lightweight to measure the gain of mass accurately. In this study, the intake rate of female mosquitoes feeding on various sucrose solutions was estimated using a micro-particle image velocimetry technique. As the sucrose concentration increased from 1% to 50%, the intake rate decreased from 17.3 to 5.8 nl s(-1). In addition, the temporal volume variations of the two pump chambers were estimated based on the velocity and acceleration information of the flow at the center of the food canal of the proboscis. One pumping period was divided into four elementary phases, which are related to the different operational modes of the two pumps. According to the hypothetical model established in this study, the phase shift () between the two pump chambers increases from 14 to 28 ms and the percentage of reverse flow to forward flow in a pumping period decreases from 7.6% to 1.7% with increasing viscosity. The developed analytical methodology thus aids in the study of an insect's feeding mechanism.

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