A few days ago, I was playing with magnets and thought of placing one near a live mosquito (I had it held between my two fingers so it had no chance of escaping). When near the magnet, it twitched and flew away! I tried the same with semi-alive mosquitoes, but nothing really happened.

I googled about this and learnt that mosquitoes have got to do something with magnets, but I'm still confused. Could anyone tell me why mosquitoes get repelled by magnetic fields?

PS. I'm no biology student, so please go easy on me, thank you ahead of time!

Source (PDF)

EDIT: Strickman et. al. (2000) says:

we found that some specimens had a significant magnetic remanence Could this possibly be the reason why mosquitoes may get repelled by magnetic fields?

That paper also states:

the mosquitoes were able to detect the magnetic fields but sensed a magnetic pattern that was impossible in nature.


Strickman, D., Timberlake, B., Estrada-Franco, J., Weissman, M., Fenimore, P. W., & Novak, R. J. (2000). Effects of magnetic fields on mosquitoes. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association-Mosquito News, 16(2), 131-137.


According to the research cited by the OP (Strickman et al. 2000), mosquitoes alter their behavior in the presence of a magnetic field, and the measured changes in behavior are statistically significant. The authors of the study found that the external surfaces of mosquitoes attract ferromagnetic particles from the air. They speculate that changing their orientation to the earth's magnetic field helps mosquitoes navigate while approaching a potential host.

Reference Cited Strickman, D., Timberlake, B., Estrada-Franco, J, Weissman, M, Fenimore, PW, and R.J. Novak. 2000. Effects of magnetic fields on mosquitoes. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 16(2):131-137.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This seems far-fetched...kind of like Magneto's escape during X-men 2. $\endgroup$ – DKNguyen Oct 17 '20 at 1:38
  • $\begingroup$ Answers on this site are expected to be fact based not speculative. Your answers is thus much more likely to receive a favorable response if you edit it to include supporting references (primary literature is best). Without that support, your answer is indistinguishable from opinion and would be more appropriate as a comment. ——— Please take the tour and then consult the help pages for additional advice on How to Answer effectively on this site and then edit or delete your answer accordingly. Thanks! 😊 $\endgroup$ – tyersome Oct 17 '20 at 4:42
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    $\begingroup$ @tyresome, I apologize for making a speculative suggestion on Stack Biology. I have updated my answer which now cites the primary literature and describes the conclusions of the cited study. I hope the OP will benefit. $\endgroup$ – user21485 Oct 18 '20 at 21:04

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