The mosquito's proboscis is a natural biomicroelectromechanical system that painlessly pierces human skin.


Female mosquitoes use their proboscis to painlessly penetrate human skin and suck blood. The proboscis is made up of a small bundle of long, tapering stylets, called the fascicle, and a large scaly outer lower lip called the labium. During blood feeding, only the fascicle penetrates into the skin while the labium buckles back to remain on the surface of the skin.

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How Mosquitoes Use Six Needles to Suck Your Blood

The Strategy

The mosquito uses the two maxillas as variable frequency microsaws with nanosharp teeth to advance into the skin tissue. This elegant biomicroelectromechanical system enables the mosquito to insert its feeding fascicle into human skin using an exceedingly small force.

The Potential

This strategy could be used to develop microsaws with nanosharp teeth that could be used to penetrate human skin without causing pain.

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Last Updated September 14, 2016