Mosquito with ‘serial number’

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‘Bill Gates mosquito’: Mosquito with ‘serial number’ confounds viewers. What’s going on?

‘Bill Gates mosquito’


Vladimir Supica


Posted on Sep 24, 2023

A TikTok video showing a mosquito with a mysterious serial number on its body has gone viral, sparking speculation, conspiracy theories, and jokes among viewers.

The footage starts with a person holding an insect resembling a mosquito in their hand. As they gently push the wings of the mosquito with their thumb, the body of the alleged mosquito is revealed and it seemingly has the number 36 imprinted on it.

@informationstoree #CapCut #series #shorts ♬ X-Files – The Original Movies Orchestra

The video contains an onscreen caption that reads, “A mosquito with serial number.” It is accompanied by the X-Files music.

Posted by TikToker @informationstoree on Sept. 22, the video has quickly spread on the video-sharing platform accumulating more than 5.6 million views. Many viewers were baffled by the strange insect and wondered if it was a real mosquito or some kind of spy device.

Some commented that it was a “Bill Gates mosquito,” possibly referring to a debunked conspiracy theory that the Microsoft co-founder is behind a plan to use genetically modified mosquitoes to spread malaria in the U.S.

Others joked that it was a surveillance drone sent by the government or some kind of secret organization.

“PENTAGON: Sir, they just caught one of our surveillance troop,” one user wrote.

“That’s not a serial number. That is a gang tattoo that’s the number of kills,” another user quipped.

However, some users pointed out that the insect was not actually a mosquito, and they are correct. According to an AP News fact check, the insect in the video is indeed not a mosquito but most likely an aphid, which is a common garden insect.

The article explains, citing several experts, that the insect possesses two pairs of wings, lacks a proboscis, and features small red eyes. These characteristics all indicate that the insect belongs to the aphid species of insect and is not a mosquito.

Another article by USA Today cites Patrick Liesch, director of the University of Wisconsin’s insect diagnostic lab. Speaking about the black markings found on the insects body, he says: “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.”

The Daily Dot reached out to @informationstoree via TikTok DM for comment.

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*First Published: Sep 24, 2023, 3:25 pm CDT