Mosquitoes’ hearing properties profiled
Researchers from the University of Bristol in the UK have discovered
that mosquitoes can respond to sound by appropriately amplifying or reducing
incoming noise for optimal hearing, and they are keen to understand how the
insects mechanically respond to sound waves.
Mosquitoes hear through their antennae, each of
which comprises about 15,000 sensory cells. The insects can create their own vibrations
to amplify incoming noises to improve the sensitivity of their hearing.
Courtesy of Daniel Robert.
The scientists, led by Daniel Robert,
used a scanning laser Doppler vibrometer from Polytec GmbH of Waldbronn, Germany,
to measure the nanoscale movements of a mosquito antenna as it responded to sound.
They created a three-dimensional map of its nanoscale movement. Using an atomic
force microscope from JPK Instruments AG of Berlin, they measured the material properties
of the antenna in response to nanoscale motion to observe its surface features.
The scientists believe that a better
understanding of these minute movements of the mosquito’s antenna could lead
to the development of tiny acoustic sensors that detect nanoscale vibrations from
sounds at frequencies of human interest.
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