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Top Story

Mosquitoes bite not just to lay eggs, but also to quench thirst

When it's hot and dry, mosquitoes like nothing more than the refreshing taste of you. Biologists have discovered that female mosquitoes bite not only to get the protein they need to lay eggs, but also to quench their thirst during a drought. Mosquitoes often pose a nuisance and disease threat after rains when they can lay eggs in standing water. But this research found that dry conditions provide little protection from the biting pests. Now, researchers are trying to find out just how often mosquitoes must bite to stay hydrated, which could help doctors fight illnesses, such as malaria. Every new detail about their physiology and behavior could help health agencies fight mosquito-borne illness. These new insights into mosquito behavior came about serendipitously, researchers said. Students were studying a batch of thirsty, dehydrated mosquitoes when some escaped from a vial.

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