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Mosquitoes



Just some comments on mosquito biology.

1) Only female mosquitoes bite (today), and presumably that hasn't
changed from the Mesozoic.  So, if you are going to get any DNA from any
blood inside a mosquito in amber, you've got to get the *females* only. 
That knocks down odds right there.

2) Mosquitoes don't bite because they themselves live off the blood. 
Male and female mosquitoes derive nourishment from flower nectar.  The
female needs a blood meal to feed her eggs.  The blood she feeds on is
shunted into a separate compartment of the GI tract that processes the
blood and feeds her developing eggs.  If by chance she can't find an
animal to feed on, she will digest the protein from her flight muscles
and cripple herself, all to bring her eggs to the laying stage.  She will
walk to water if she has to!

So, Hammond would have to go through many tons of amber to find a female
mosquito that hasn't just fed on flowers alone, *and*  fed on a dinosaur
with nucleated red blood cells (and no other animal) *and* hasn't already
completely processed the blood meal for her developing eggs *and* became
entombed in amber *and* the amber fossilizing intact.  What are the
incredible odds of anyone finding this and getting viable DNA at all? 
Pretty nil, I'd say.

Judy Molnar
Education Associate, Virginia Living Museum
vlmed@juno.com
jamolnar@juno.com
All questions are valid; all answers are tentative.