Riders on the storm

Date:27 October 2012 Tags:,

Raindrops hit mosquitoes with the relative force of a bus. Yet, scientists have discovered, the insects can shrug off the impact and thrive in the rain. After analysing high-speed video of raindrops hitting mosquitoes, researchers at Georgia Tech in the US found that drops strike the insects once every 25 seconds in a storm. When the falling water scores a direct hit between the wings, the bug is momentarily pinned. But in a split second, its long legs and wings act as a parachute, generating enough wind resistance to allow for an escape.

Georgia Tech engineer David Hu, co-author of the mosquito study, says larger insects don’t need the same escape strategy. “A raindrop hitting a dragonfly will just bounce off,” he says. “But that force is 100 times greater on a tiny mosquito and would be deadly if it didn’t have this way out.” – Steve Rousseau

Video: Watch a video showing how free-flying mosquitoes survive raindrop collisions by virtue of their low mass.