blood sweet blood

yellow fever mosquito (aedes aegypti)

some time ago, i overheard somebody talk about how they are constantly stung by mosquitos, and she ended her story saying “i must have very sweet blood.”

at first i was amazed at the narrow field of thinking, but it got me thinking.

the process of evolution has trimmed all living things in a way that made them better adjusted to their respective environments, and more efficient in terms of survival and reproduction.
naturally, it’s a good idea to find sources of easily accessible, rich sources of energy such as carbohydrates – most notably sugars.

over millions of generations, sugar molecules have proven to be such a valuable source of energy that our tongues were equipped with specialized chemical receptors that could instantly tell us whether something contained sugars or not.
the pleasing sensation when something tastes sweet is simply a way of our tongue telling our consciousness that whatever we’re eating contains lots of energy, and that we should eat more of it while we can.

accordingly, a mosquito’s sensation1 when it registers appealing signals2 might be described as “sweet” in a way that it makes the mosquito want to get more of that sensation and will eventually lead it to a good source of food and energy – even though sugars don’t have a lot to do with that sensation.

  1. imagining for a moment that mosquitos have something like a consciousness, which i think is questionable. []
  2. mainly the exhaled CO2 and certain molecules that make up elements of body scent. []

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