Sweaty skin: an invitation to bite?

R.C. Smallegange, N.O. Verhulst, W. Takken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto and Aedes aegypti have a preference for human blood, which determines their importance as vectors of pathogens responsible for human diseases. Volatile organic chemicals are the principal cues by which humans are being located. Human sweat contains components that are attractive to anthropophilic mosquito species, and variation in sweat composition causes differential attractiveness to mosquitoes within and between individuals and also between humans and other mammals. Characteristics of skin glands and skin microbiota define the odorous organic compounds emitted by sweat, thereby the degree of attractiveness of the host to mosquitoes. Carboxylic acids in particular appear to characterize humans. Thus sweat-associated human volatiles are probably the primary determinant factor in the host preference of anthropophilic mosquitoes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-148
JournalTrends in Parasitology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • gas chromatography/mass spectrometry
  • mosquito anopheles-gambiae
  • human kin recognition
  • human-body odor
  • l-lactic acid
  • aedes-aegypti
  • malaria mosquito
  • candidate attractants
  • pattern-recognition
  • volatile compounds


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