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Mosquitos Have Little Trouble Flying in the Rain 186

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the all-the-better-to-give-you-malaria dept.
sciencehabit writes with an interesting article about the (surprisingly not well studied) effects of rain on flying insects. From the article: "When a raindrop hits a mosquito, it's the equivalent of one of us being slammed into by a bus. And yet the bug will survive and keep flying. That's the conclusion of a team of engineers and biologists, which used a combination of real-time video and sophisticated math to demonstrate that the light insect's rugged construction allows the mosquito to shrug off the onslaught of even the largest raindrop. The findings offer little aid in controlling the pest but could help engineers improve the design of tiny flying robots." Bats, unfortunately, aren't so lucky: "...these furry fliers need about twice as much energy to power through the rain compared with dry conditions."
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Mosquitos Have Little Trouble Flying in the Rain

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:12AM (#40216449)
    A mouse could fall off a building and walk away. People, not so much. The smaller you are, the more resistant you are to long falls. It's why many dwarves become steelworkers.
  • by Drishmung (458368) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:16AM (#40216463)

    You can drop a mouse down a thousand-yard mine shaft; and, on arriving at the bottom, it gets a slight shock and walks away, provided that the ground is fairly soft. A rat is killed, a man is broken, a horse splashes

    On Being the Right Size J. B. S. Haldane in 1928

  • by maugle (1369813) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @12:29AM (#40216519)
    But the bus analogy is still wrong, because the entire point of the article is that the mosquito is not smashed by the raindrop. Instead the mosquito simply merges into and falls with the drop, then escapes before the raindrop hits the ground.

    So, it's more like phasing through the front of an oncoming bus, landing comfortably in one of the seats, then escaping out the rear before the bus plows into a concrete wall.
  • by quarkscat (697644) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @03:48AM (#40217139)

    Aside: This is only tangentially relevant to TFA, but I hope it gets a pass from the moderators and not modded down as OffTopic:

    Preface: Bats are kind of like mice with flappable wings. One would expect that they would have that knack of flying, pretty much instinctively. One would not expect them to thwart Darwin's Law, survival of the fittest, by doing 'stupid' things while flying, but ...

    True Story: I was driving home from work one night and was only a block away from home in a residential neighborhood, when something fell out of the sky and loudly hit the hood of my car. I stopped, engine still running and headlights on, to get out and see what had happened. A bat, with it's wings wrapped around something or other, had fallen out of the sky. As I was contemplating retrieving the combo windshield squeegee / ice scraper from the trunk to brush this poor dead creature off my hood, it separated from what it fell from the sky with and flew away. Almost immediately, a second bat roused itself and flew from the hood in presumed pursuit of the first bat. The only thing that I could figure is that those 2 bats were copulating in mid-air, lost control, and plummeted down to earth and landed on my car's hood.

    I'm not a biologist, nor have I ever played one on TV, but it would seem that the act of 2 small mammals copulating in mid-air would violate the base instinct of survival that falling out of the sky might negate. Unless ... unless they routinely know that such a fall is non-lethal, and other base instincts kick into play. Kids. You let them out to run around without supervision in the evening after a big supper (of bugs), and the next thing you know, they're getting into trouble. And yes, there was a full moon that night.

    Question: (Directed to anyone who might actually know): Was I fortunate to see a common occurrence, something that very few people have an opportunity to see, or were those bats engaged in very risky behavior that they managed to survive?

    Inquiring minds want to know, and Bing has so few good answers.

  • by zero.kalvin (1231372) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @05:36AM (#40217451)
    That's way more complicated. You are talking about an n-body ( n= 22500 ) dynamics, if I am not mistaken this can be best handled by fluid dynamics. But even that is based on a lot of assumptions, for example will the bag hold ? if yes then it will behave like the horse. If not, then it depends on how fast will it tear, and how will it tear! Try this, take a melon and throw it out of a 10 story building, then another melon in ten plastic bags, and another in 100 plastic bags, and throw them. The result will show you what I mean.

The best way to avoid responsibility is to say, "I've got responsibilities."

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