Mosquitoes first sniff then attack their host

Washington DC, July 17 (ANI): A new research has shed light on how mosquitoes approach their target suggesting that it can smell a host’s blood from across the room.

The research conducted by University of Washington and the California Institute of Technology found out the cues mosquitoes use to find humans.

As per their studies, the minute insects employ a razor-sharp sense of smell to tip them off that a warm-blooded meal is nearby, and then use vision and other senses to hone in on the feast.

UW biologist Jeff Riffell, co-author on the paper said, “Very little was known about what a host looks like to the mosquito and how a mosquito decides where to land and begin to feed,”

Experiments by other scientists implied that the mosquito sense of smell might activate other senses in the quest for a host.

Talking about the wind tunnels, Riffell said, “What’s great about this wind tunnel is that it provided a nice control of wind conditions and the environment these mosquitoes are flying around in. We can really test different cues and the mosquito’s response to them.”

Riffell believes the mosquitoes went to the black dot a high-contrast spot in an otherwise featureless environment thinking that a warm-blooded host was nearby. These results might mean that mosquitoes control or “gate” their sensory systems. They may not seek a host until they smell one in this case, due to the scent of exhaled breath. If this theory is correct, the scents picked up by the mosquito’s nose may determine whether or not it engages other sensory systems in the search, especially vision.

The research is published in the Current Biology and was funded by the National Institutes of Health.(ANI)

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