Imaging live mosquito larvae with a foldscope

Africa - kids playing on sibling grave - malaria impact

In one of my second posts on the microcosmos website, I explored mosquito larvae. Malaria is the most deadly disease affecting millions of people around the world. You can see the image above is from manu’s recent presentation at national geographic (it’s a really powerful and inspiring talk. and you should go watch it now if you haven’t seen it already!!)

This image is particularly striking because the children are playing on the graves of their siblings who died due to malaria. And you see the expectant mother sitting in the back: this should give you a sense of the deadliness of malaria, that people in developing countries constantly don’t let their children take it lightly at all and remind themselves constantly!!

As such, One of the main thrusts in our lab is to create instrumentation for malaria diagnostics and thus we have plenty of mosquitoes (and larvae handy!) So I decided to investigate these creatures myself. You can read the entire foldscope post on the microcosmos website.
However, I’m attaching a few videos below that I particularly like — that highlight the beautiful structures on the larvae as well as some cool swimming dynamics (if you find a paper that has analyzed this active swimmer, please send it my way!).


Slo-mo active swimmer:

I also tested the iMovie app on the iPhone to add a soundtrack, trim the video, and add text on the video (see below).

What I’m hoping eventually is to combine multiple videos and images to create one final composite.


In his typical style, manu had a comment waiting on the post –

@Saad: that’s an incredible post. Mosquitoes are the biggest menace in the world – specially when you think about larvae being present in all standing water bodies. The video is great for also identifying mosquito larvae species identification.

What if all foldscope users picked up mosquito larvae from neighborhoods – we could make a world mosquito map.


PS. If you meet me, ask me and I’ll be happy to give you a demo of the foldscope:)!

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