|MadSci Network: Zoology|
Hello Tally Thank you for your question. I do not know where you heared this story but to make it short: it is wrong. The buzzing sound your hear is generated by the wings of the mosquitoes during flight. Typical frequencies are between 200 and 600 Hz depending on the species and on sex. Female mosquitoes generally have a higher wing beat frequency than males and therefore generate a higher sound. Hearing abilities of healthy humans are between 20 and 20000 Hz. Thus the buzz of both sexes are easily heared by humans and what you hear during night flying around your head most likely are females looking for a meal. Male mosquitoes of a few species can be attracted to humans too. But - as you correctly stated, males never bite. Instead we (and other hosts) are a location where they can meet a female mosquito with high probability. So they might approach you to find a mate not a meal. Male mosquitoes can hear the female buzz and are attracted to such sound sources. By the way: there are numerous devices around that produce ultrasound. People selling these claim that these deivices deter mosquites (and, and, and ... ). Mosquitoes can not hear ultrasound and I have never seen any scientific proof that these devices work as promised. I hope this helps. Some references if you would like to read more: Gopfert MC, Robert D Nanometre-range acoustic sensitivity in male and female mosquitoes P ROY SOC LOND B BIO 267: (1442) 453-457 MAR 7 2000 Gopfert MC, Briegel H, Robert D Mosquito hearing: Sound-induced antennal vibrations in male and female Aedes aegypti J EXP BIOL 202: (20) 2727-2738 OCT 1999 Brogdon WG Measurement of flight tone differentiates among members of the Anopheles gambiae species complex (Diptera : Culicidae) J MED ENTOMOL 35: (5) 681-684 SEP 1998 BROGDON WG MEASUREMENT OF FLIGHT TONE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FEMALE AEDES-AEGYPTI AND A-ALBOPICTUS (DIPTERA, CULICIDAE) J MED ENTOMOL 31: (5) 700-703 SEP 1994 BELTON P ATTRACTION OF MALE MOSQUITOS TO SOUND J AM MOSQUITO CONTR 10: (2) 297-301 Part 2 JUN 1994 MANKIN RW ACOUSTICAL DETECTION OF AEDES-TAENIORHYNCHUS SWARMS AND EMERGENCE EXODUSES IN REMOTE SALT MARSHES J AM MOSQUITO CONTR 10: (2) 302-308 Part 2 JUN 1994 DUHRKOPF RE, HARTBERG WK DIFFERENCES IN MALE MATING RESPONSE AND FEMALE FLIGHT SOUNDS IN AEDES- AEGYPTI AND AE-ALBOPICTUS(DIPTERA, CULICIDAE) J MED ENTOMOL 29: (5) 796-801 SEP 1992 Best wishes and God bless Jurgen Ziesmann
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