Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mosquitoes Create Harmonic Love Song Before Mating

12.01.2009
That pesky buzz of a nearby mosquito is the sound of love, scientists have known for some time. But a new Cornell study reports that males and females flap their wings and change their tune to create a harmonic duet just before mating.

Cornell entomologists have discovered that male and female mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti), which can spread such diseases as yellow and dengue fevers, "interact acoustically with each other when the two are within earshot -- a few centimeters of each other," said Ron Hoy, professor of neurobiology and behavior.

The study is available online today (Jan. 8) and will be published in a February issue of Science, said Cornell associate professor of entomology and mosquito expert Laura Harrington, a co-senior author on the study with Hoy.

"The frequency at which males and females converge is a harmonic or multiple of their wing-beat frequencies, which is approximately 400 hertz [vibrations per second] for the female and 600 hertz for the male," said Hoy.

The mating duet, generated just before the couple mates on the fly, settles at around 1,200 hertz -- roughly an octave and a half above concert A (the pitch to which instruments are tuned -- the A that has a frequency of 440 hertz and is above middle C). "That is significantly higher than what was previously thought to be mosquitoes' upper hearing limit," he added.

Interestingly, the mosquitoes adjust the harmonic resonance of their thoracic box to produce a harmonic frequency that converges at a frequency that is the female's third harmonic (three times her fundamental frequency) and the male's second harmonic (two times his fundamental frequency). The study also is the first to definitively show that contrary to previous thought, female mosquitoes are not deaf.

To study mosquito mating calls, the researchers tethered mosquitoes and flew them past each other while recording the flight tones with a special microphone. Co-first author Benjamin Arthur, a postdoctoral researcher in Hoy's laboratory, placed electrodes in the mosquitoes' auditory organ in their antennae during playback to measure physiological responses of the mosquitoes to the sounds of potential mates.

The researchers hope that their work will provide new ways to better control of mosquito populations in places where yellow and dengue fevers are significant problems.

"By studying these flight tone signals, we may be able to determine what kind of information males and females consider important when choosing a mate," said co-first author Lauren Cator, a Cornell graduate student who works with Harrington. "This will allow us to release 'sexy' transgenic or sterilized males that will be able to successfully compete with wild populations."

Dengue fever affects 50 million people annually, and two-thirds of the world's population is at risk. In recent years, it has reached epidemic levels in Asia, South and Central America and Mexico, where the number of dengue cases has increased by more than 300 percent from year to year. No dengue vaccine is available, and no treatment exists beyond supportive care.

The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and by a $19.7 million Foundation for the National Institutes of Health grant awarded to Harrington and a global team of scientists to cure dengue fever and control the mosquitoes that transmit the viruses that cause it.

Blaine Friedlander | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu
http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Jan09/mosquitoLovesongs.sl.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bioluminescent worm found to have iron superpowers
15.12.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht Computational strategies overcome obstacles in peptide therapeutics development
15.12.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technique could make captured carbon more valuable

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

A chip for environmental and health monitoring

15.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>