Spotify could swat a fly
A strange new study has found listening to intense electronic music may help avoid mosquito bites.
An international team of mosquito scientists sound is “crucial for reproduction, survival, and population maintenance of many animals”.
To test the limits of this, the team subjected adults of the species Aedes aegypti - or the yellow fever mosquito - to various forms of music to see if it works as a repellent.
A track by US dubstep artist Skrillex was chosen because of its mix of very high and very low frequencies.
“In insects, low-frequency vibrations facilitate sexual interactions, whereas noise disrupts the perception of signals from conspecifics [members of the same species] and hosts,” the scientists said.
Mosquitos were blasted with music from a speaker set up near a cage of hungry female mosquitoes who had gone 12 hours without a meal.
The cage also contained one virgin male mosquito (for sex) and a restrained hamster (for lunch).
Of the course of several 10-minute trials, groups of 10 female mosquitoes were swapped in and out of the cage while dubstep played on repeat.
The results published in the journal Acta Tropica suggest female adult mosquitoes were “entertained” by the track and attacked hosts later and less often than those not under the influence of dubstep.
Overall, scientists said “the occurrence of blood feeding activity was lower when music was being played”.
Mosquitoes exposed to hard electronic music had sex “far less often” than mosquitoes without music.
“The observation that such music can delay host attack, reduce blood feeding, and disrupt mating provides new avenues for the development of music-based personal protective and control measures against Aedes-borne diseases,” the study said.