Mosquitoes bite — despite lack of teeth
Published: Friday, September 16th, 2005
Rather than the proposed racetrack or ethanol plant, folks in Tucumcari seem to be on the receiving end of a new — and very productive — establishment. We have a mosquito factory. First confined to back woods and dirty water pooled in abandoned tires, the mosquitoes have gotten bolder, stronger and more obsequious — not to mention sneakier than a father hiding car keys from his teen. While scrutinized under a microscope, or after being smashed sideways on the meaty part of an arm, the corpse of a mosquito can be examined to note its various parts. One of the most obvious elements of any mosquito is the legs. Long, spindly and most likely in need of a shave, the thin gams of this buzzy beast rival those of his cousin, the daddy longlegs. (Note we said cousin and not brother, for a spider is not an insect.) Mosquitoes also have knees. These allow the spindly legs to properly bend when perched atop hard-to-reach places. Some of their favorites include the back of an earlobe or side of an eyelid. Yes, they will bite your eyelid. Speaking of weird places, the mosquitoes’ eyes are probably their most lethal weapon. With the ability to magnify objects up to 5.437 million times, a pebble to them is Mount Rushmore. A stick is the size of the Eiffel Tower. A shoelace — egad — looks like the Great Wall of China (if it were white and pliable, of course). Mosquitoes are also, shall we say, blessed to pick out the only exposed and unsprayed part of skin in an entire crowd clad in hats, gloves, boots and trench coats. One morning this week, that skin happened to be a patch 1/900th of a millimeter in diameter located right beneath the wristband of my heavy pink fleece. Thin, whitish wings are another fine factor of these equally fine insects. Since they are not thick enough to pin to a wax dissection tray, mosquitoes are rarely used in high school biology class. The paper-thinness of these appendages also upset small children who are unable to rip them loose like they do to flies. Although some claim the mosquitoes’ buzzing noise comes from such wings, further studies have shown the buzzing is actually an echoing of the voices in the insect’s head, telling them to attack. This is not unlike the phenomenon that hit Son of Sam back in the late 1970s when he claimed his dog spoke to him, telling him to kill. Moving rapidly through the mosquito anatomy, one may search fruitlessly for the mosquitoes’ teeth. No one has ever seen these teeth, but it’s a question in Trivial Pursuit and we all know those facts are truer than mosquito swarms are thick. We are unsure what they would chew with these teeth, as the bloodsucking all comes from a tube the length of the equator tucked snugly from their snouts. It’s only the females who suck the blood, mind you, making up for years of repression when women could neither wear pants nor vote. This, of course, all happened before the days of feminism and required college courses entitled Women Empowered, Amazon Literature and How to Reason like a Black Widow. The most important mosquito fact, however, is how to stop the bites from itching. Long ago in ancient Barcelona, a technique was developed that involved a sharp stick and the affected area. A letter “X” was gouged by the stick into the middle of the bite, instantly stopping the itching. Modern technology has revolutionized this technique. Instead of searching for a sharp stick (which would involve going into the woods and getting more mosquito bites) we can now use our fingernail. This practice offers instant relief from the maddening itch by using the ancient art of replacement. You are essentially replacing the itch with pain. Of course you face the danger of not only infection, but that anyone watching will scream in horror as she sees what a series of Xs does to a boyfriend’s back.
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