Those raindrops can weigh up to 50 times as much as the insect, which simply takes a brief ride on them without any significant amount of force being transferred to its body.
Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team says the insect’s strong exoskeleton also renders it impervious to the precipitation while in flight.
“If you were to scale up the impact to human size ... it would be like standing in the road and getting hit by a car,” said Andrew Dickerson of the Georgia Institute of Technology.
He and others found that the mosquitoes are not so lucky if struck while sitting on a branch or on the ground. T
hose impacts probably kill them in the same way they would die if the raindrop they were riding on hits the ground before they fly free.
The research will be used to help develop new insect-sized flying robots, known as micro airborne vehicles.
Photo: Tim Nowack, Andrew Dickerson and David Hu - Georgia Tech