July 18, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Mosquitos Are Water-Walking Champions

We hate ’em, but in one sense we should admire them: mosquitos are the water-walking champions of the animal kingdom.  They even beat out water striders, reported Live Science and EurekAlert based on research from Physical Review E.  Science Daily wrote of “miraculous mosquito legs” and had a picture of the intricate fan-shaped superhydrophobic structures that allow mosquitos to comfortably stand on the surface of water like a cat on a feather pillow.
    The legs of water striders can support 15 times their weight on water, but mosquito feet can support 23 times their weight.  “The secret to mosquito water walking appears to be feathery scales a few microns across that in turn are covered with nanoscopic ribbing, forming what the physicists have dubbed (in an apparent fit of excessive prefixing) a micronanostructure.”  That’s something to think about before swatting.
    Like geckos, mosquitos take advantage of millions of tiny hairy pads that can adhere to about anything.  Speaking of geckos, PhysOrg reported a new super glue product that was inspired by gecko feet and mussels.  It’s called geckel (gecko + mussel) and has been shown to endure 1,000 repeated applications.  It even works underwater.  National Geographic also reported on the nature-inspired invention.

You have to wonder how such intricate micro-machines like mosquitos got to be so nasty.  If they didn’t desire our blood and carry diseases, we would probably not notice them or mind them.  Did they have a beneficial purpose originally, like many other insects still do?  Did they pollinate plants or provide food and games for bats and toads?  Did something go wrong after the original creation?  That’s a question science cannot answer, but theologians can and do try to incorporate the observations of today’s world into the limited record of creation that has been revealed.  It’s clear from the Bible that God has on many occasions used his creatures as agents of judgment – but it is also clear that not every instance of a natural disaster or handicap is related to a specific sin by the victims.  Laymen might retreat to rhymes like: I don’t know why God made the fly, the mosquito, gnat or chigger; I’m just not sad, but indeed glad, he didn’t make them bigger.

(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.