The Qur'an frequently summons people to investigate nature and see the "signs of
Allah" therein. All living and non-living beings in the universe are full of signs
revealing that they are "made", and they are there to demonstrate the power,
knowledge and art of their "maker". Man is responsible of identifying these
signs by using his wisdom and revere Allah.
While all living beings bear these signs, there are some animals which the Quran
specially refers to. The gnat is one of these animals. The 26th. verse of Surat al-Baqara
mentioning the gnat is as below:
"Surely Allah is not ashamed to set forth any parable-- (that of) a (female) gnat
or any thing above that; then as for those who believe, they know that it is the truth
from their Lord, and as for those who disbelieve, they say: What is it that Allah means by
this parable: He causes many to err by it and many He leads aright by it! but He does not
cause to err by it (any) except the transgressors"
Mostly considered as an ordinary and insignificant creature, even the gnat is worthy of
being examined and pondered on since it bears the signs of Allah. This is why "Allah
is not ashamed to set forth any parable-(that of) a gnat or any thing above that".
The main food source of male and female gnats is nectar.
THE EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURE OF THE GNAT
What is generally known about gnats is that they are bloodsuckers and they
feed on blood. However, this is not a very correct information, because not all the gnats
but only the females suck blood. Besides, the females do not suck blood because of
their need for food. Both male and female gnats feed on flower
nectar. The only reason why females, unlike males, suck blood is their need for the
proteins found in the blood which help their eggs to develop. In other words, the female
gnat sucks blood just to secure the perpetuation of its generation.
SPECIAL PINCERS FOR MATING
A male gnat mature enough to mate uses its antennas, i.e. its hearing organs, to find
its female. The antennas of male gnats have different functions from those of females.
Thin feathers at the end of the antennas are highly sensitive to sounds produced by female
Right beside the sexual organ of the male gnat are found extensions which help him to
grab the female while mating in the air. Male gnats fly in groups seeming like clouds and
when a female gnat enters that group, the male who succeeds to grab the female mates with
her during flight. Mating does not take too long and the male gnat goes back to his group.
From that moment on, the female gnat needs blood for the development of her eggs.
The point to be stressed here is that the above verse points out to the "female
gnats". As we have previously mentioned, it is only the female gnats who draw near to
the humans and who have the superior features that will be detailed hereafter. Although
this importnat detail was unknown at the time the Quran was revealed, it is surely
quite considerable that "female" gnats are particularly emphasized in the verse.
The development process is one of the most amazing and admirable qualities
of the gnat. The animal transforms from a tiny larva into a gnat after passing through
many different phases. The story of this development can be shortly summarised as
Gnat eggs, which are fed by blood and get developed, are laid on damp leaves or dried
ponds by the female gnat during summer or fall. Prior to this, the mother initially
examines the ground thoroughly, by using the delicate receptors under her abdomen. Upon
finding a convenient place, she starts to lay her eggs. Eggs, which are less than 1 mm. in
length, are arranged in a row either in groups or one by one. Some species lay their eggs
joined to each other forming a raft, some of which may contain about 300 eggs.
In some gnat species, hundreds of eggs are lined up by the female, so as
to form a raft.
RESPIRATORY SYSTEM: The respiratory system of the larva is based on breathing air by
means of a hollow tube pulled up over the water surface. Meanwhile, larvae are hung upside
down under the water. A viscous secretion prevents water from leaking into the openings
through which larvae breath.
The carefully placed white eggs soon start to darken and turn completely
black in two hours. This dark colour provides protection for the larvae by preventing them
to be noticed by other insects and birds.
It takes a winter for the incubation period to be completed. Since eggs are created
with a structure that allows them to survive through a long cold winter, they stay alive
until spring when their incubation period ends.
GETTING OUT OF THE EGG
When the incubation period is completed, larvae start to get out of their eggs almost
concurrently. The first egg is immediately followed by the others. After that, all of the
larvae start to float in water. The larvae, which feed continuously, grow in a short
while. Soon, their skin becomes too tight so as not allowing them to grow any further.
This indicates that it is time for the first skin change. The hard and brittle skin easily
breaks down. Until the development is completed as a whole, the gnat larva is to change
its skin two more times.
The method used for the feeding of the larvae is rather impressive. The larvae make
small whirlpools in the water with their two fan-shaped extensions made up of feathers,
and thus make bacteria and other micro-organisms flow towards their mouths. The
respiration of the larvae is provided by an aerial tube similar to the "snorkel"
used by divers. They repose upside down in the water. A viscous secretion secreted by
their body prevents water from leaking into the openings through which they breath.
Briefly, the animal lives with the cooperation of many delicate balances. If it did not
have an aerial tube, it could not survive; if it did not have a viscous secretion, its
respiratory tube would be blocked.
In the mean time, most of the larvae change their skin once more. The last skin change
is rather different from the others. With this last change, larvae pass onto the final
stage of their maturation, the "pupal stage". Now, it is time for the larvae,
which are sufficiently grown in the larval skin, to get rid of this shell.
However, such a different creature gets out of the shell that it is indeed hard to
believe that these two are different developmental phases of the same being. And this
metamorphoses is far too complicated and delicate to be designed neither by the larva
itself, nor by the mother or any other living thing...
During this latest stage of metamorphoses, the animal faces the danger of being choked,
as its respiratory openings rising above the water through an aerial tube are to be
closed. However, from that stage on, respiration is not to be done through these holes,
but through two tubes newly emerging on the anterior of the animal. This is why these
tubes rise to the water surface firstly prior to skin change. During the three or four
days long pupal stage, no feeding takes place.
Now, the gnat within the pupa cocoon is mature enough and has taken its final form. The
gnat is ready to fly with all its organs and organelles like antennas, trunks, feet,
chest, wings, abdomen and large eyes.
Gnats at their pupal stage
The pupa cocoon is torn at the top. This stage where a complete gnat emerges is the
most fatal stage of all. The greatest risk at this stage is the leaking of water into the
cocoon. However, the torn top is covered with a viscous liquid preventing the gnats
head from contacting water.
The gnat has to get out of its cocoon without having any direct contact with water.
Only its feet touch the water surface. This moment is extremely important, as even a soft
wind may cause its death. The gnat, which gets out of its cocoon, leaves for its first
flight after a rest of about half an hour.
The animal has got out of water without even touching the water...
At this point, we have to ask: How come the first gnat had attained the
"ability" to go through such a metamorphosis? Might it be that a larva has
"decided" to transform into a gnat after changing skin three times?
Absolutely not; it is quite evident that this tiny animal which Allah gives as an
example, has specifically been created as it is.
While the gnat gets out of water, its head should not contact with water
at all, because, even one breathless moment may result with the choking of the gnat.
Therefore, even a breeze or a tiny roughness on the water surface may be fatal for the
HOW GNATS PERCEIVE THE OUTSIDE WORLD
Gnats are equipped with extremely sensitive heat receptors. They perceive
things around them in different colours depending on their heat as in the picture on the
right. As this perception is not dependent on light, it is quite easy for the gnat to spot
the blood vessels even in a dark room. The heat receptors of the gnat are sensitive enough
to sense heat differences as small as 1/1000 C degrees.
The gnat has nearly 100 eyes. These eyes are placed as compound eyes on the top of its
head. In the picture above, the cross-sections of three of these eyes are shown. On the
right, it is shown how the image of an object is transmitted to the brain from the eye.
AMAZING TECHNIQUE OF BLOOD SUCKING
The gnats technique of "blood sucking" is unbelievably amazing.
After the gnat lands on its target, it first detects a spot by using the two devices
around its mouth. The syringe-like sting of the gnat is protected with a special sheath,
which is stripped off during the blood sucking process.
The gnat does not prick the skin by thrusting its sting into it with pressure as
assumed. Here, the duty falls to the upper jaw which is as sharp as a knife, and the
mandible on which there are teeth bent backwards. The mandible is moved forwards and
backwards like a saw and the skin is cut with the help of the upper jaws. When the sting
inserted through this cleavage on the skin reach to the blood vessel, the drilling ends.
Now it's the time for the animal to suck blood.
However, as known, in the slightest harm made to the vessels, the human body secretes
an enzyme that clots the blood and stops its shedding. This should be a great problem for
the gnat, because the body would also react to the tiny hole opened by the gnat,
therefore, the blood would be clotted and reparation would start. This means that the
animal would not be able to suck any blood.
But the problem is specially eliminated for the gnat. Before the animal starts sucking
blood, it leaves a special liquid secreted in its body into the cleavage opened in the
human vessel. This liquid neutralises the enzyme that provides for the clotting of the
blood. Thus, the gnat sucks the blood it needs without any problem of clotting. The
itching and swelling of the spot bitten by the gnat is caused by this liquid which
This is surely an extraordinary process and it brings the following
questions to the mind:
1) How does the gnat know that there is an clotting enzyme in the human body?
2) In order to produce a neutralising secretion in its own body against that enzyme, it
needs to know the chemical of the enzyme. How can this be possible?
3) Even if it somehow attains such a knowledge (!), how come can it produce such a
secretion in its own body and constitute the "technical rigging" needed to
transfer it to its sting?
The answer is obvious; It is not possible for the gnat to perform any of those above.
It neither has the required wisdom, nor the chemical knowledge, nor the
"laboratory" environment to produce the secretion. What we talk about is only a
gnat of several millimetres without any wisdom or consciousness, that's all!
It is quite clear that it is Allah, "Lord of the heavens and of the earth, and of
all that is between them", who has created both the gnat and the man, and donated the
gnat with such extraordinary and marvellous features.
Whatever is in the heavens and on earth,- let it declare the Praises and Glory of
Allah: for He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. To Him belongs the dominion of the
heavens and the earth: It is He Who gives Life and Death; and He has Power over all
things.(Surat al-Hadid, 1-2)
When it is considered that apart from the excellent systems of the gnat such as
feeding, reproduction, respiration and blood circulation, this lice also has complex
systems and organic functions, the boundlessness of the signs of Allah can better be