Differential behaviour of Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto (Diptera: Culicidae) to human and cow odours in the laboratory

H.V. Pates, W. Takken, K. Stuke, C.F. Curtis

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63 Citations (Scopus)


A dual port olfactometer was used to study the response of Anopheles gambiae Giles sensu stricto to odours of human and animal origin. Human odour consisted of human skin emanations collected on a nylon stocking, which was worn for 24 h. This was tested alone or together with 4.5% carbon dioxide, the concentration in human and cattle breath. Cattle odours consisted of cow skin emanations and/or carbon dioxide. Cow skin emanations were collected by tying a nylon stocking ('cow sock') around the hind leg of a cow for 12 h. Anopheles gambiae s.s. was consistently highly attracted by human odour, which is consistent with the high degree of anthropophily in this mosquito. Anopheles gambiae s.s. was not attracted by human or cattle equivalent volumes of carbon dioxide and this gas did not enhance the effect of human skin residues. Furthermore, A. gambiae s.s. showed a high degree of aversion to cow odour. When human odour and cow odour were tested together in the same port, mosquitoes were still highly attracted, indicating that whilst cattle odour may deter A. gambiae s.s., these mosquitoes can detect human odour in the presence of cattle odour. It was concluded that carbon dioxide plays a minor role in the host seeking behaviour of A. gambiae s.s., whilst host specific cues such as human skin residues play a major role and very effectively demonstrated anthropophilic behaviour in the laboratory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-296
JournalBulletin of Entomological Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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