Mosquito ‘tongue’ neurons ignite like fireworks at taste of human blood

What does your blood taste like to a mosquito? Researchers recently discovered that the delectable flavor of human blood sends sensory neurons igniting like fireworks in a mosquito’s syringe-like “tongue,” a piercing mouthpart called a stylet.

Only female mosquitoes feed on blood, and only to nourish their developing eggs — otherwise, they drink flower nectar. To better understand the mosquitoes’ attraction to human blood, scientists genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to make the insects’ taste-related neurons emit fluorescent light during activation.

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