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I have heard several times as I've grown up that you can flex your muscles to make mosquitos get stuck and explode. Looking around the web, I find several sources claiming the same.

Q: If you flex your muscle while a mosquito is biting you, will the mosquito explode?

A: Yes, it's true. If you trap a mosquito's proboscis (sucker) in your skin, then it will suck until it explodes. Try it! ChaCha!1

Other site called it a urban legend.

10. They can go out with a bang

Blood pressure makes a mosquito's meal easier by helping to fill its stomach faster, but urban legend says it can also lead to their doom. Story goes, you can flex a muscle close to the bite site or stretch your skin taut so the mosquito can’t pull out its proboscis and your blood pressure will fill the bug until it bursts.

Is there any truth to this urban legend? Can mosquitoes really suck till they explode?

  • I hate to admit this, but the "12 year old" that still exists way down in my soul wants to see a video of this. – RLH Sep 2 '14 at 19:17
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It is false. Mosquitos can suck until they explode, but not by simply flexing a muscle.

May Berenbaum, professor and head of the Department of Entomology, University of Illinois says this:

You can trust me, too; it doesn’t work.

[T]he general scientific consensus is that it is indeed possible to cause a mosquito to explode, but doing so requires severing its ventral nerve cord (Klowden 1995). The ventral nerve cord transmits information regarding satiety to the mosquito’s brain; when the cord is severed, the mosquito has no sense of consuming its fill, so it will continues to suck until it quadruples its body weight, whereupon it explodes. Moreover, even after the abdomen bursts,a mosquito will continue to suck blood, which spills freely out of what remains of the back end (Gwadz 1969).

(From Berenbaum 2009)

References

Berenbaum, M. (2009). Mosquito myth exploded?. American Entomologist, 55(1), 4-5.

  • 4
    The paper you referenced seemed to be written in a humorous not entirely serious way. I would be interested to see what Klowden 1995 had to say about it. jstor.org/discover/10.2307/… Sadly I don't get access to it through my university. Does his article say "it's impossible to cause a mosquito explode if you don't severe it's ventral nerve cord" or does it say "by severing its ventral nerve cord can you make it explode". It's a fairly big difference between the two. – Wertilq Jul 10 '13 at 13:46

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protected by Oddthinking Aug 26 '14 at 2:35

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