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Seeing is believing: the nocturnal malarial mosquito Anopheles coluzzii responds to visual host-cues when odour indicates a host is nearby

Seeing is believing: the nocturnal malarial mosquito Anopheles coluzzii responds to visual host-cues when odour indicates a host is nearby

Hawkes, Frances ORCID: 0000-0002-0964-3702 and Gibson, Gabriella (2016) Seeing is believing: the nocturnal malarial mosquito Anopheles coluzzii responds to visual host-cues when odour indicates a host is nearby. Parasites & Vectors, 8. p. 320. ISSN 1756-3305 (Print), 1756-3305 (Online) (doi:10.1186/s13071-016-1609-z)

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Abstract

Background: The immediate aim of our study was to analyse the behaviour of the malarial mosquito Anopheles coluzzii (An. gambiae species complex) near a human host with the ultimate aim of contributing to our fundamental understanding of mosquito host-seeking behaviour and the overall aim of identifying behaviours that could be exploited to enhance sampling and control strategies.

Results: Based on 3D video recordings of individual host-seeking females in a laboratory wind-tunnel, we found that despite being a nocturnal species, An. coluzzii is highly responsive to a visually conspicuous object, but only in the presence of host-odour. Female mosquitoes approached and abruptly veered away from a dark object, which suggests attraction to visual cues plays a role in bringing mosquitoes to the source of host odour. It is worth noting that the majority of our recorded flight tracks consisted of highly stereotyped ‘dipping’ sequences near the ground, which have been mentioned in the literature, but never before quantified.

Conclusions: Our quantitative analysis of female mosquito flight patterns within ~1.5 m of a host has revealed highly relevant information about responsiveness to visual objects and flight height that could revolutionise the efficacy of sampling traps; the capturing device of a trap should be visually conspicuous and positioned near the ground where the density of host-seeking mosquitoes would be greatest. These characteristics are not universally present in current traps for malarial mosquitoes. The characterisation of a new type of flight pattern that is prevalent in mosquitoes suggests that there is still much that is not fully understood about mosquito flight behaviour.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anopheles gambiae, Anopheles coluzzii, Vision, Olfaction, Behaviour, 3D tracking, Host-seeking, Mosquito sampling
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2017 13:44
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/15618

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