Attack of the Bloodsuckers



Exhibit Descriptions

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Scenic Walls

Cartoon walls set the scene — giant bloodsuckers are launching an invasion. The adults don't notice, but kids and pets keep a wary eye on the giant fleas, parachuting ticks and other suckers invading the house and yard.

Photo Gallery

Enjoy the blending of art and science in the super–magnified photos of bloodsuckers. Award–winning photomicrographer Dennis Kunkel shows how bloodsuckers can be beautiful up close!

Mosquito Cockpit

Imagine you are a mosquito itching for a bite. Your mission? Track down your next meal.

• Carbon Dioxide Detector

Measure the invisible carbon dioxide gas in your breath. Mosquitoes follow this gas trail to locate a target.

• Breathing Mist

See the wispy mist from a target's breath. A mosquito can sense wisps of breath up to half a mile away!

• Moving Target

Turn the dial, and like a mosquito you can see an object more easily when it moves. Also test how images look with a mosquito's compound eyes.

• Feel for Heat

Use temperature to find a hot meal! Aim the heat detector to find out where your friend's arm is hidden — even through a shirt–sleeve.

Tool Time

Be a mosquito! Use your probe to find a vein in an arm. Get a close–up look at a mosquito's proboscis (tube–mouth), and the slicing jaws and suction–cup mouths other bloodsuckers use to get their blood meals.


Take a close look at some familiar bloodsuckers that you normally try to avoid: a head louse, flea, bed bug, tick and mosquito.

Suckers Talk Back

Bloodsuckers plead for their lives! The mosquito, leech, tick and black fly explain their important place in the natural world.

Inflatable Tick

Meet Ms. Phillipa Tick, a giant inflatable tick. Have a seat in her lap and become her next meal — as her body inflates, she'll "grow" on you! Fun photo op.

Are You Attractive?

• Do Mosquitoes Like Smelly Feet?

Do mosquitoes love you? It could be because your feet smell. Add your data to this graph. Researchers studying how to build a better mosquito trap collect this kind of information.

• How Do You React?

How does your skin react to mosquito bites? Do you get big red itchy bumps? Or are you lucky enough to have no reaction at all? See how you compare as you add your data to this graph.

Matching Game

Try to find the matching pictures of bloodsuckers. There's a twist — one picture in each pair shows a zoomed–in image of a small part of the animal.


"Right hand on head louse!" Play TwITCHer, the Twister™–like game that ties you up in knots and makes you itch!

Mosquito Life Cycle

Spin your way forward or back through a film of a mosquito's life cycle: from a wriggling larva that breathes out its rear–end to an adult crawling out of its pupal shell.

Suckers from Around the World

Check out the weird suckers around the world: a life–like model of a vampire bat, a preserved sea lamprey and portraits of a vampire moth, vampire fish and a tag–team pair of blood–sucking bird species from the Galapagos.

Live Mosquitoes

Spend time with some live mosquitoes, all safely contained in three escape–proof tubes. You may know an adult mosquito, but have you ever watched mosquito larvae performing their little water ballet?

Live Leeches

Can you spot which end of a medical leech is the biting one? With suction cups at each end and a flexible flatworm body, a leech can crawl like an inch–worm, swim like a whale, or just "hang out" on the sides of the tank.