WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Researchers studied how loud music can manipulate mosquito behavior, specifically mating and feeding habits.
- They used the Skrillex song “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” to test their theory.
- Results showed that mosquitoes in a cage blasted with the Skrillex song sucked less blood and mated less than those contained in a silent cage.
Not all people like dubstep and it turns out mosquitoes find it distracting, too. Researchers wanted to study the effect of loud music on mosquitoes if it could be used as an “environmentally friendly” alternative to insecticides. This is to help interrupt behaviors like mating and blood-sucking, which can provide a means for deadly diseases like dengue fever and Zika virus to spread.
In a new study published on March 25 in the Acta Tropica journal, researchers tested the effect of dubstep music using a cage of hungry female mosquitoes that had gone 12 hours without a meal. The cage also had one virgin male mosquito and a hamster that was restrained.
Electronic music, particularly the Skrillex song “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites”, was blasted next to the cage while groups of 10 female mosquitoes were swapped in every 10 minutes. The Skrillex song was chosen because, according to the research team, it was a prime candidate for “noisiness” with its loudness and continuously escalating pitch.
The mating and feeding behaviors of the Skrillex mosquitoes were compared to those of a control group that had a silent cage. Results showed that the mosquitoes blasted with noise had five times less sex than those who were surrounded by silence.
This is because mosquitoes have to harmonize wing beats and flight tones to mate successfully. This is difficult considering the music’s “aggressive vibrations”. Those in the quiet space could also hone in on the hamster and start feeding after an average of 30 seconds. The Skrillex mosquitoes took 2-3 minutes.
Source: Live Science