Malaria mosquitoes use leg push-off forces to control body pitch during take-off

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Escaping from a blood host with freshly acquired nutrition for her eggs is one of the most critical actions in the life of a female malaria mosquito. During this take-off, she has to carry a large payload, up to three times her body weight, while avoiding tactile detection by the host. What separates the malaria mosquito from most other insects is that the mosquito pushes off gently with its legs while producing aerodynamic forces with its wings. Apart from generating the required forces, the malaria mosquito has to produce the correct torques to pitch-up during take-off. Furthermore, the fed mosquito has to alter the direction of its aerodynamic force vector to compensate for the higher body pitch angle due to its heavier abdomen. Whether the mosquito generates these torques and redirection of the forces with its wings or legs remains unknown. By combining rigid-body inverse dynamics analyses with computational fluid dynamics simulations, we show that mosquitoes use leg push-off to control pitch torques and that the adaption of the aerodynamic force direction is synchronized with modulations in force magnitude. These results suggest that during the push-off phase of a take-off, mosquitoes use their flight apparatus primarily as a motor system and they use leg push-off forces for control.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Aug 2019

Fingerprint

malaria
Culicidae
mosquito
Malaria
Leg
legs
aerodynamics
torque
Torque
Touch
Hydrodynamics
computational fluid dynamics
abdomen
Abdomen
Eggs
Insects
nutrition
fluid mechanics
flight
blood

Keywords

  • aerodynamics
  • Anopheles coluzzii
  • computational fluid dynamics

Cite this

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title = "Malaria mosquitoes use leg push-off forces to control body pitch during take-off",
abstract = "Escaping from a blood host with freshly acquired nutrition for her eggs is one of the most critical actions in the life of a female malaria mosquito. During this take-off, she has to carry a large payload, up to three times her body weight, while avoiding tactile detection by the host. What separates the malaria mosquito from most other insects is that the mosquito pushes off gently with its legs while producing aerodynamic forces with its wings. Apart from generating the required forces, the malaria mosquito has to produce the correct torques to pitch-up during take-off. Furthermore, the fed mosquito has to alter the direction of its aerodynamic force vector to compensate for the higher body pitch angle due to its heavier abdomen. Whether the mosquito generates these torques and redirection of the forces with its wings or legs remains unknown. By combining rigid-body inverse dynamics analyses with computational fluid dynamics simulations, we show that mosquitoes use leg push-off to control pitch torques and that the adaption of the aerodynamic force direction is synchronized with modulations in force magnitude. These results suggest that during the push-off phase of a take-off, mosquitoes use their flight apparatus primarily as a motor system and they use leg push-off forces for control.",
keywords = "aerodynamics, Anopheles coluzzii, computational fluid dynamics",
author = "{van Veen}, {Wouter G.} and {van Leeuwen}, {Johan L.} and Muijres, {Florian T.}",
year = "2019",
month = "8",
day = "12",
doi = "10.1002/jez.2308",
language = "English",
journal = "Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology",
issn = "2471-5638",
publisher = "Wiley",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Malaria mosquitoes use leg push-off forces to control body pitch during take-off

AU - van Veen, Wouter G.

AU - van Leeuwen, Johan L.

AU - Muijres, Florian T.

PY - 2019/8/12

Y1 - 2019/8/12

N2 - Escaping from a blood host with freshly acquired nutrition for her eggs is one of the most critical actions in the life of a female malaria mosquito. During this take-off, she has to carry a large payload, up to three times her body weight, while avoiding tactile detection by the host. What separates the malaria mosquito from most other insects is that the mosquito pushes off gently with its legs while producing aerodynamic forces with its wings. Apart from generating the required forces, the malaria mosquito has to produce the correct torques to pitch-up during take-off. Furthermore, the fed mosquito has to alter the direction of its aerodynamic force vector to compensate for the higher body pitch angle due to its heavier abdomen. Whether the mosquito generates these torques and redirection of the forces with its wings or legs remains unknown. By combining rigid-body inverse dynamics analyses with computational fluid dynamics simulations, we show that mosquitoes use leg push-off to control pitch torques and that the adaption of the aerodynamic force direction is synchronized with modulations in force magnitude. These results suggest that during the push-off phase of a take-off, mosquitoes use their flight apparatus primarily as a motor system and they use leg push-off forces for control.

AB - Escaping from a blood host with freshly acquired nutrition for her eggs is one of the most critical actions in the life of a female malaria mosquito. During this take-off, she has to carry a large payload, up to three times her body weight, while avoiding tactile detection by the host. What separates the malaria mosquito from most other insects is that the mosquito pushes off gently with its legs while producing aerodynamic forces with its wings. Apart from generating the required forces, the malaria mosquito has to produce the correct torques to pitch-up during take-off. Furthermore, the fed mosquito has to alter the direction of its aerodynamic force vector to compensate for the higher body pitch angle due to its heavier abdomen. Whether the mosquito generates these torques and redirection of the forces with its wings or legs remains unknown. By combining rigid-body inverse dynamics analyses with computational fluid dynamics simulations, we show that mosquitoes use leg push-off to control pitch torques and that the adaption of the aerodynamic force direction is synchronized with modulations in force magnitude. These results suggest that during the push-off phase of a take-off, mosquitoes use their flight apparatus primarily as a motor system and they use leg push-off forces for control.

KW - aerodynamics

KW - Anopheles coluzzii

KW - computational fluid dynamics

U2 - 10.1002/jez.2308

DO - 10.1002/jez.2308

M3 - Article

JO - Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology

JF - Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology

SN - 2471-5638

ER -