Strange things are afoot
This alien-like appendage is the foot, or tarsus, of a mosquito. While mozzies’ legs may not look like much to the naked eye, this scanning electron micrograph image was taken at 800 times magnification to reveal the tarsus’ intricate microstructure. Incredibly, each of the bizarre-looking formations serves a particular purpose.
“The two tarsal claws that are clearly visible allow the mosquito to grip onto most surfaces, like walls, plants or your leg. The surrounding structures, the ‘socks’, act as buffers, allowing the mosquito to land gently and accurately on all manner of surfaces,” says BBC presenter and entomologist Prof Adam Hart. “It isn’t just about physical prowess – the hairs on the feet also act as sensory structures, effectively allowing them to taste with their feet!”
The image is one of the top 100 selected to tour the UK as part of the Royal Photographic Society’s International Images for Science. Visit rps-science.
org for more details.