Humming in synchrony: mosquito sounds added to bed net sound track

Mosquitoes use sound to find a mate and altering wing beat frequency helps males and females find each other and the same sex to avoid each other. So mating pairs go into synchrony  but competing males go into discord.  I am using this as a metaphor in our ‘Bednets not bombs’ piece to illustrate the discord leading to war; usually male vs male! Compared to the synchrony and commonality that may lead to efforts to bring peace.

This work has already been used in an installation for the Spark Festival 2009.

Experiments in Mosquito / Machine Communication: Truce from khs frst on Vimeo.

The Science behind this was done by done and published by Gabriella Gibson and Ian Russell

Flying in Tune: Sexual Recognition in Mosquitoes.  Current Biology Volume 16 , (2006) pages 1311-1316

Opposite-sex pairs of tethered mosquitoes alter their wing-beat frequency in response to the flight tone of the other, so that within seconds their flight-tone frequencies are closely matched, if not completely synchronized. The flight tones of same-sex pairs may converge in frequency but eventually diverge dramatically.


About Sandflyman

I am a lecturer and research scientist in the Faculty of Health and Medicine at Lancaster University. I have spent my career studying relationships between humans, insects, microbes and parasites. I am increasingly interested in the relationship between art and science and use my background in science research to develop collaborative arts projects. View all posts by Sandflyman

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