What will happen if a human being is hit by a bus? In all probability, the human being will perish. Now, consider a comparable situation in which raindrop, weighing as much as 50 times a mosquito, falls on the insect. The answer, many would say would be that, akin to the human being, the mosquito would also perish.
The reality is different though. Strange it may sound, but mosquitoes thrive in such rain and survive all those heavy raindrops that bombard them. What explains this phenomenon is equally intriguing.
The mosquitoes, by virtue of the fact that they are extremely light, ride on the raindrops and do not allow the weight of the drops to be thrust upon them. There are exceptions though. A stationary mosquito will die if a raindrop falls on it. Thus the key thing is that mosquito has to be on the move.
For the purpose of the study, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology build an arena which consisted of a small acrylic cage. The cage was covered with a web to thwart the exit of the mosquitoes but at the same time, all water to enter the cage.
The researchers then simulated actual rainfall by injecting water in the cage through a water jet. High speed video cameras were used to observe how mosquitoes survived the rainfall.
The researchers found that mass of the mosquitoes was so low that the raindrops lost momentum on collision.
David L. Hu, biologist at the Georgia Tech and lead author of the study said, “The collision force must equal the resistance applied by the insect. Mosquitoes don't resist at all, but simply go with the flow.”
The findings of the study have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.