Mosquitoes cling on to smooth ceilings and walls as geckos and clutch the skin of their victims with annoying tenacity in search of blood; however, it's the unique ability to walk on water that make them stand out in the animal kingdom.
Both water striders and mosquitoes rely on superhydrophobic (extremely water repelling) legs to allow them to stand on pond surfaces. However, while the legs of water striders are capable of supporting only 15 times the insect's body weight, each of a mosquito's six legs can support 23 times the insect's weight.
AdvertisementResearchers from Dalian University, China and Simon Fraser University, Canada, measured the water repellent ability of mosquito legs by attaching an amputated leg to the end of a needle and recording the force as they pushed it down into a container of water.
Scientists say the secret to mosquitoes' water walking appears to be feathery scales a few microns across that in turn are covered with nanoscopic ribbing, forming what can effectively be called a 'micronanostructure'.