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Selection of biting sites on man by two malaria mosquito species


While searching for blood, female mosquitoes pass through a behavioural process involving responses to visual, physical and chemical properties of the host. Temperature and humidity are thought to dominate mosquito orientation near the host. We observed that biting of two malaria mosquito species, i.e.Anopheles atroparvus (van Thiel) andAnopheles gambiae s.s. (Giles) preferentially occurs on different body regions of a naked motionless human host. Their preference for the head and foot regions respectively correlated with particular combinations of skin temperature and eccrine sweat gland density. Subsequent modification of the host's odour profile by removing exhaled breath and washing feet results in significant changes of these preferences.

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Correspondence to R. De Jong.

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De Jong, R., Knols, B.G.J. Selection of biting sites on man by two malaria mosquito species. Experientia 51, 80–84 (1995).

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Key words

  • Host-seeking
  • Anopheles gambiae
  • Anopheles atroparvus
  • chemotaxis
  • behaviour