Keeping track of mosquitoes: A review of tools to track, record and analyse mosquito flight

Jeroen Spitzen*, Willem Takken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The health impact of mosquito-borne diseases causes a huge burden on human societies. Recent vector control campaigns have resulted in promising declines in incidence and prevalence of these diseases, notably malaria, but resistance to insecticides and drugs are on the rise, threatening to overturn these gains. Moreover, several vector-borne diseases have re-emerged, requiring prompt and effective response measures. To improve and properly implement vector control interventions, the behaviour of the vectors must be well understood with detailed examination of mosquito flight being an essential component. Current knowledge on mosquito behaviour across its life history is briefly presented, followed by an overview of recent developments in automated tracking techniques for detailed interpretation of mosquito behaviour. These techniques allow highly accurate recording and observation of mating, feeding and oviposition behaviour. Software programmes built with specific algorithms enable quantification of these behaviours. For example, the crucial role of heat on host landing and the multimodal integration of carbon dioxide (CO2) with other host cues, has been unravelled based on three-dimensional tracking of mosquito flight behaviour. Furthermore, the behavioural processes underlying house entry and subsequent host searching and finding can be better understood by analysis of detailed flight recordings. Further potential of these technologies to solve knowledge gaps is discussed. The use of tracking techniques can support or replace existing monitoring tools and provide insights on mosquito behaviour that can lead to innovative and more effective vector-control measures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number123
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Mar 2018


  • 3D analysis
  • Automated tracking
  • Behavioural ecology
  • Flight behaviour
  • Infectious diseases
  • Malaria
  • Mosquito
  • Vector control

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