Mosquitoes Can Sense Toxins Using Their Legs, Scientists Discover

Scientists have for long wondered how mosquitoes are able to spread diseases like malaria even when they are exposed to serious insecticides and other medication. Now, a group of scientists at LSTM have found a new method by which mosquitoes are able to do this thing. According to their findings, these mosquitoes are able to sense the presence of toxic substance through their logs. This understanding would help them in staying away from insecticides, thereby creating an environment that is suitable for spreading the diseases. Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles coluzzii were analyzed as a part of the study.

“We have found a completely new insecticide resistance mechanism that we think is contributing to the lower than expected efficacy of bed nets. The protein, which is based in the legs, comes into direct contact with the insecticide as the insect lands on the net, making it an excellent potential target for future additives to nets to overcome this potent resistance mechanism,” Dr. Victoria Ingham, who is the first author of the study, was quoted saying by Phys.org. The presence of a binding protein named SAP2 was crucial to coming to this conclusion.

The elevation in the levels of the binding protein was crucial when it comes to deciding whether a mosquito was susceptible to the common insecticides out there. In the cases where the levels were so high, it was also found that the mosquitoes developed a resistance towards the insecticides. This is how mosquitoes that are spreading malaria stay away from the insecticides, making the removal quite difficult than usual. The authors reaffirm the fact that bed nets that have been treated with insecticides would help in preventing wide ranges of diseases that are spread by these small beings, and that further research needs to be done to understand what can be done against this resistance.

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