Queer, with your thin wings and your streaming legs
How you sail like a heron, or a dull clot of air,
Yet what an aura surrounds you;
Your evil little aura, prowling, and casting a numbness on my mind.
That is your trick, your bit of filthy magic:
Invisibility, and the anæsthetic power
To deaden my attention in your direction.
But I know your game now, streaky sorcerer.
The mosquito goes about her business of sniffing out a source of blood, puncturing the skin, and feeding to provide the nutrients for her exhausting process of egg production and laying: then some days later, repeats the cycle, oblivious to the tiny plasmodium parasite she injects into her meal. A week to two weeks afterwards, the mosquito may already be dead while the loved member of a family lays shivering and convulsing. Perhaps over her lifetime this mosquito has given two people malaria and laid 1,000 more eggs. Like us, she leaves a trail of death in her wake that she has no way of comprehending or quantifying, let alone empathising with. Perhaps, then, the anopheles mosquito deserves to be preserved as a metaphor of your project?.
An anopheles, I hope it is a female. ‘A female mosquito has a very hard life, she has a thousand babies and she needs to drink blood to give her the strength to survive. The male mosquito has a very idle life, he sits in the shade and eats fruit’ This story was told by children using drama in Kenya, people laughed, but all of them had lost a friend, a neighbour or child to malaria.
We need to understand and respect these creatures. They can develop resistance to insecticides and perhaps more importantly they learn. They can change their behaviour, not quite as quickly as it takes a dog to learn a new trick, but if you put insecticide on the walls inside a house they soon learn to sleep outside.
I wonder if this is an British anopheles or one its more exotic cousins? No longer do the anopheles of the East of England cause illness and death during the warm damp summers, we should be more tolerant of the occasional bite that causes no more than an irritation.
But back to the main story we need to understand this mosquito because she is the vector or carrier of the malaria plasmodium which causes millions of of preventable deaths every year, mainly of children under five.
In the ether around Manchester this year 40 virtual students from around the world met in a wiki to discuss ways to improve the supply and delivery of nets, insecticides and medications in countries in Africa and Asia. If you can’t find a home for this exhibit at the end of the day send her to the Masters of Public Health course and we’ll look after her.
Can see the sea?
This species of mosquito can infect humans with malaria. The disease is still widespread in tropical and subtropical regions. Different mosquitoes are difficult to tell apart. The museum has a collection of mosquitoes to help scientists decide which is which. It is always best to know your enemy!
This insect is important as it helps us understand the mosquito’s role in disease and the natural world.
Curator of Arthropods,
The Manchester Museum
I love mosquitoes they’re so cute!
Why do you like mosquitoes? I hate them they’re the scum of the earth!
this was me
I think that the Hermit idea gives a good chance for observation of a complicated modern world. Studying different objects from the museum provides an unbeatable chance to fully appreciate the objects in the Museum. However, I think that an artist projecting it to the world as a Hermit is incorrect. A hermit is somebody who seperates themselves from the outside world (and Humanity) completly. To have a bathroom and a kitchen and all sorts of luxaries is defeating the point. They should drop you off in the middle of nowhere, make you fend for yourself, see if you would survive because I bet any money that you wouldn’t!!
Preserved specimens of insects like this one play an important role in helping us tackle some of humanity’s biggest problems.
Anopheles mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting Malaria, a disease which is estimated to still kill almost one million people every year, with the majority of fatalities being children in Africa. It is not the fly itself that causes the disease but a microscopic parasite which is adapted to live inside the fly’s body for part of its life and then enter humans through its saliva when it bites.
Understanding mosquitoes is vital to controlling Malaria. Preserved specimens can help of with this in many ways. They are a tool for training entomologists to recognise relevant species and can demonstrate exactly which fly a particular name refers to and how names might have been used differently in the past. Along with the specimen will be data on where and when it was found, this is useful in building up a picture of where different mosquito species occur now, where they have been in the past and making predictions on how the disease might spread in the future.
In many cases collections of tropical mosquitoes will relate to a past research project. They tell a story about that particular moment in the fight against Malaria and similar diseases and should be made available in collections in case the results of that study are revisited or challenged. New and innovative techniques, particularly molecular analysis, can also now be applied to specimens like these for research which perhaps never would have been anticipated when they were first collected.
A good case could probably be made for the complete eradication of certain Anopheles mosquitoes from the wild, however, specimens like these should be cared for and interpreted in museums – not least because they bring us closer to a problem which can sometimes seem very distant.
If there were 5000 people in a field and one mosquitoe, I can gurantee it would leave everyone else alone and bite me.
What really bugs me is I can’t resist scratching the bite till it bleeds and leaves a scar.
I am an entomologist who studies bloodsucking insects and the diseases that they transmit. As a scientist I appreciate the Anopheline mosquito on many levels. It is of course the most important insect regarding the human disease that it transmits – malaria. But I want to discuss the mosquito as a thing of beauty. I am currently working with an artist to produce a fusion of artistic and scientific endeavour –we have begun the journey but the excitement is where we will go and what will we learn from each other and with each other.
Beauty seems to have become something that artists don’t talk about much but perhaps surprising to some, is that fact that scientists talk a lot about beauty in what they find in their work. I want relate to people about the beauty in form and function and relationships between and within the organisms with which I work. For example, blood sucking insects are not normally thought of in terms of beauty but there is beauty in their function and how exquisitely they have evolved to take blood from their host.
Just one example of how a mosquito can be viewed as a thing of beauty is in their reaction with the opposite sex. The sounds of the female wing beats can be recognised by the male to then enable courtship, the male then synchronises his wingbeat with the female to create a perfect harmony see for example..
Late summer, 2 years ago, I was sat in meditation under the shade of a holly tree, in a woodland near Lewes, south east UK. I was there for no purpose other than to contemplate my place within the natural world.
About 8 hours had passed – although I deliberately avoid wearing a watch during these sits – and I had experienced a few close encounters of the animal kind. An over inquisitive squirrel, a whole host of flies and the same male blackbird seeking out tasty morsels in the leaf litter that surrounded me.
As evening was drawing in, a female mosquito alighted on the fleshy bridge between my index finger knuckle and thumb. I slowly raised my hand to investigate. As she pierced my skin I felt an itch, a tiny electrical impulse and then nothing. I resisted my instinct to swat her and agreed to let have her fill, after all, I have lots of blood.
I was amazed at how quickly she changed colour. Her posture seemed so perfect for doing the job; there was beauty in the fluency of her movement.
A few days later, while studying the raised itchy bump that my body had produced, I realised that I had probably received one of the clearest answers to my question. I had been humbled by a mosquito.
I like moskseetos because they are living things
matilda aged 5
Since we met on Saturday in that cafe that you now can’t visit even though it is a stone’s throw from your tower I have been bitten twice by some pesky mosquitos. Not whilst on exotic travels but while sitting in my garden with the lovely Marina Abramovic. Malarial mosiquitos are certainly a world problem, as other posts so eloquently explain but I can assure other posters that even Manchester mosquito bites are a major distraction in a busy day. I would say let your object survive so we can understand them better but stamp hard on any you find in your sleeping quarters!
And in a moment I’m sending your blog address to all the artists involved in Marina Abramovic presents… Think of us tomorrow and send good vibes as we do our dress rehearsal and discover whether it will work or not.
Have a peaceful evening.
Hey, don’t kill the messenger. It’s not the mosquito that causes malaria it’s the singled celled protozoan, Plasmodium living inside the mosquito that’s the culprit.
Four tet – no more mosquitoe’s you can listen to it on Spotify.
what disease will anopheles mosquito cause?
Malaria! Only the female though!
It is not an Anopheles mosquito.
Because it’s palps are no longer than probocids.
just an ordinary female Culicinae
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