A mosquito's pump is a highly effective system in the small suction domain. To understand a mosquito's blood suction mechanism, we analysed the characteristics of red blood cells (RBCs) in human blood during and after suction by a female mosquito. Focussing on the flow patterns of the RBCs in human blood being sucked by a mosquito, we visualized blood flow by using a micro-particle image velocimetry (μ-PIV) system, which combines an optical microscope and a PIV method. In an ex vivo experiment, a female mosquito was supplied diluted blood at the tip of the proboscis. We examined the blood flow around the tip of the proboscis and observed that RBCs were periodically sucked towards a hole around the tip. The sucked RBCs then homogeneously flowed parallel to the inner surface of the proboscis without adhering to the wall. Furthermore, using a bioelectric recording system, we directly measured electrical signals generated during suction by the pump muscles located in the mosquito's head. We found that the electrical signal power was synchronized with the acceleration of the RBCs in the sucking phase. A histological stain method was adapted for the observation of the form and internal structure of RBCs in the mosquito. Although the blood flow analysis revealed that the RBCs underwent shear stress during suction, RBCs in the mosquito's stomach maintained their original shape.
- bioelectric recording
- red blood cell