Mosquito Researcher Offers Herself As Lunch For Her Test Subjects


I [says researcher Emily Dennis] keep a lot of different stocks and end up feeding about 8 cages every three months. Each cage has about 500-1000 mosquitoes.

Everyone in the lab keeps their own stocks. Most people feed on their arms, some people use mice, and some people use an artificial feeder. I like to feed on myself because:

  1. I get lots of street cred as a scientist
  2. I get a lot of my hypotheses from watching mosquitoes interact with my skin
  3. Because I don’t want to select for mosquitoes that feed well on membrane feeders/mice.

I am pretty resistant to the bites after feeding regularly, so I only have a red arm for a few hours after this. In fact, feeding a few hundred mosquitoes is much better than feeding just one or two.

With one or two, you get individual, itchy bumps. With a whole armful your arm just feels hot (because of the inflammatory response).

Photographer Alex Wild‘s photo of Rockefeller University’s Emily Dennis via io9.

This entry was posted in Science by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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