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TikTok Video Shows a Mosquito With a Serial Number on it- “What’s Going On!?”

Source: TikTok

Are mosquitoes now manufactured in factories? While it’s common to notice serial numbers on vehicles, electronics, and consumer products, it’d be absurd to find them on an insect. This is why a TikToker’s post showing what seemed like a serial number on a mosquito has sparked diverse and interesting reactions from viewers.

In the TikTok video which was captioned “A mosquito with serial number,” someone can be seen holding a mosquito between their index finger and thumb. Next, the camera zoomed in and the handler pushed the mosquito’s wings aside to reveal its body which clearly showed the number 36 stamped on it. 

The video went viral in no time, amassing almost 6 million views, more than 500,000 likes, and about 8, 500 comments. While some commenters found the video amusing, others smelled a conspiracy, one that has already been debunked.

One of the conspiracy theorists referred to the insect as “Bill Gates mosquito.” According to those in this school of thought (or conspiracy), the insect was likely one of the genetically-modified mosquitoes that the billionaire philanthropist allegedly released into the country through his Foundation.

For others, it was an opportunity to crack jokes about the government or some clandestine organization using the mosquito as a surveillance drone. “PENTAGON: Sir, they just caught one of our surveillance troop,” one witty commenter wrote.  “That’s not a serial number. That is a gang tattoo that’s the number of kills,” someone else hilariously suggested.

However, in the midst of the humor and banter, another group of people, who were more interested in the facts emerged. These ones were able to discover—and rightly so—that the insect wasn’t a mosquito after all. Luckily, this finding was corroborated by an AP News fact check titled, “Video on social media doesn’t show genetically modified mosquitoes.” 

In the article, Nora Besansky, a University of Notre Dame biology professor was quoted to have said, “I’d bet 10,000 USD that it is *not* a mosquito. I have worked on mosquitoes ever since before 1980, so this should give me some authority to say that we are NOT looking at a mosquito.”

So, what insect is it? Dina Fonseca, head of Rutgers University’s entomology department, and other experts agree that it is an aphid. 

From the footage, the insect has two pairs of wings, small red eyes, and no proboscis. These accurately describe aphids and not mosquitoes. “Mosquitoes are also covered in scales and quite fragile. I doubt anyone would be able to mishandle them like that without wings and legs falling off,” she wrote. 

But what about the mystery serial number. Well, the director of the University of Wisconsin’s insect diagnostic lab, Patrick Liesch, has provided explanations for the black markings on the aphid’s body. 

In his words, “Some aphids have distinct dark markings that, in some instances, can resemble numbers. Such color patterns occur naturally, although humans can easily misinterpret them and assign specific meaning to them.”

So, what’s the lesson here? There’s almost always a logical explanation for everything. As such, it’s important to always check facts before giving in to speculations.

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