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Werewolves and mosquitoes

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Svrtnsse, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    My werewolf main character is struggling through a swamp full of blood sucking insects and other unpleasant things. It's in practice unavoidable that she gets bitten by something and that it sucks at least a little bit of blood from her. Based on your own impression of how werewolves work, would you say I'd need an explanation for why the mosquitoes don't turn into werewolves themselves?

    I don't want them to, and it serves no purpose for the story to have mosquito werewolves, but it's setting a good scene to have my MC swat at mosquitoes. My initial thought is that I don't need an explanation because turning someone or something into a werewolf requires that the werewolf takes an active part in it. That's not mentioned anywhere in my story so far though so I figured I'd ask here.

    Do werewolves have to take action on their own in order to turn someone else into a werewolf, or is it enough to consume werewolf blood?
     
  2. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Since werewolves are only seemingly injured by silver, and mosquitoes don't have silver...um...teeth, perhaps they cannot even bite into a werewolf.
     
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  3. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    That kind of works. They can bite, but as the wound/bite is so small it will heal before the insect draws any blood.
     
  4. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    For me it seems to be a matter of incompatible biology. The thing in the werewolf's blood that causes transformation simply doesn't affect mosquitos. This is like a virus's ability to maybe, at a stretch, cross over between ape and human but have no effect on mosquitoes or frogs or whatever. Mosquitos carry the parasite that causes malaria and may die from it, but most mosquitos have an immune system that prevents this from happening.
     
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  5. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    I don't think you need to provide and explanation to your readers for that.
     
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  6. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    I think it might also be worth considering that if a mosquito was to bite a werewolf, get its blood on its beak, and then bite another, might it cause the lycanthropy to spread? In which case, you cannot cleanly say that a mosquito drawing blood does not matter.
     
  7. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    This also works. :)
    No, I think you're right, but I wanted to double-check, and these semi-open ended questions often bring out some unexpected angles.
     
  8. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    FifthViewFifthView has the best answer. Its similar to HIV, or malaria. Mosquitoes carry the virus, but are not affected by it.

    I will say that you bring up a great point about blood borne diseases. What would happen if these mosquitoes bite someone who isn't a werewolf? Would they become werewolves themselves? I like where this is going.
     
  9. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    This does open up for a lot of interesting questions. It may also serve as an explanation for why the local werewolf pack is so big. That's something I'll have to address in the next draft of the story I just wrote though. Should give me some time to think about it.
     
  10. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    Sometimes viruses affect different species differently or even different age groups with a species differently.

    You could work it so that mosquitos die very quickly after biting a werewolf. This might prevent the question arising: Why haven't whole populations of towns and cities turned into werewolves? Plus, you could have a cool descriptive element as your werewolf is moving through that swamp: he's leaving a trail of dead mosquitos and other biting insects floating on the water behind him. Heh.

    Or maybe if the mosquitos survive for only a very brief while after biting, say a minute or so, and your werewolf is in a party, they might make him walk a quarter of a mile behind them just to prevent infection. This could raise a slight problem for densely populated areas, so the occasional infection via mosquito might happen there.

    But that would introduce another possibly interesting aspect to the story. Seeing mosquitos drop dead from the air around anyone would signal to everyone that the person might be a werewolf in hiding, if mosquitos die almost immediately, heh. Maybe if they take a minute or so to die, then finding dead mosquitoes might be like a trail for anyone hunting werewolves.
     
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  11. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    These are great suggestions. They don't really fit with this particular story, but as I'm using the same setting for all my writing it's definitely something I can use in other stories later on. :D
     
  12. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    They don't attack werewolves. Some animals are remarkably unattractive to the little buzzers. Werewolves could be one of these. Or there are enough werewolves for there to a species of Mozzie that only feed on them and no other prey...
     
  13. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Inkling

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    Just had a great idea: mosquitos avoid biting werewolves, if they bite one they die fairly quickly. If you happen to get bit by a mosquito that bit from a werewolf (regardless of form) as a human: you get a strange, high spiking fever with rabid/bizarre behavior that lies dormant ...until the full moon. Then, all the symptoms clear up with the new moon. Severe cases might last for a few lunar cycles. But, that time delay lets you know as a community there 'was' a werewolf in your midst. An outbreak of full moon fever might be interesting to write.

    However, the mosquitos could also then be used as a 'tell'. In human form, werewolves are still avoided by mosquitos. Having a person mostly unaffected by mosquitos like they're wearing repellant when everyone else around them are swatting and itching themselves to death would definetely be conspicuous. Werewolves in human form could learn compensating behaviors, like acting like mosquitos are bothering them to blend in.

    You could manage the scenario further by explaining that werewolves are only really susceptible to mosquito bites in human form, and for a few hours window after transformation. So, for instance, if you're turning into a wolf to run into a swamp to hide, mosquitos might bother you for a bit.
     
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  14. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    hmmm...... since everyone else is offering ways to have the mosquitoes not be affected or avoid them, what if instead of werewolf mosquitoes the werewolf blood turns them into giant, robin sized dire mosquitoes? Really gives an incentive to swat all of them before they could turn.
     
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  15. Vvashjr

    Vvashjr Minstrel

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    I thought you become a werewolf only if one were to bite you? The exchange of the were's saliva or virus within the body/saliva, which carries the virus into your bloodstream?
     
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  16. SMAndy85

    SMAndy85 Minstrel

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    There are many legends about becoming a werewolf. You're right, the bite is one of them. I would imagine that as a transfer of saliva to bloodstream, but that suggests that it could also be transmitted by other fluids. Blood could be one of them.

    Other methods for becoming a werewolf in myth and legend involve being cursed by a powerful magic user, or something as odd as drinking rain water from the paw-print of a wolf. One could assume this could stretch to the paw-print of a transformed werewolf too.

    There are a lot of good suggestions here. I like that the mosquitoes just aren't attracted to the scent of a werewolf. Perhaps they'll buzz around, but just not bite. I really like the full-moon fever idea that was posted somewhere above. The quantity of blood taken by a mosquito could be too small for a complete transformation, unless someone is bitten by several mosquitos in the run up to the full moon that have also attacked the same werewolf.

    In the end, you could cover this with a throwaway conversational moment if others in the party (if there is a party) ask the werewolf (assuming they know) "can mozzies pass on the curse?" and the werewolf can reply "i don't know, i've never been bitten" or something else that explains how it works in really simple terms.

    Mostly, I think it depends how werewolves work in your world. Do they get any special abilities in human form? if they heal faster when they're human, then it suggests it's in the blood, but that might be enough to stop mosquitoes from being able to get anything from them.
     
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  17. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Getting back to this old thread with a small update. I just added this paragraph to one of the first chapters in the story:

    She turned the sandwich around in her hand and tore a small piece of bread off from the end she hadn't bit into. Wouldn't want to kill the little mouse by feeding it any of her saliva. A tiny little thing like that might keel over from just a drop.

    It's not much, but at least it's a slight touch on the subject, and that'll have to be enough for now.
     
  18. J Q Kaiser

    J Q Kaiser Dreamer

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    That is a really interesting question. I agree with those who say you don't need to explain it. Then again, it would provide some interesting areas for plot development to consider whether a mosquito who bites a werewolf and then in turn bites a person and exposes that person to werewolf blood, could that person become a werewolf? I would suggest no because I had thought the usual mechanism for transference was in the werewolf's saliva, not the blood. But it is your story and you could rewrite those rules if you choose.
     
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  19. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Course, the mouse was thinking, great, she saved the best piece for herself.
     
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