Can Mosquitoes Play Dead?

Among the world’s deadliest creatures are mosquitoes, which carry viruses that cause dengue fever, yellow fever, and Zika. They can also spread malaria and encephalitis. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, the species responsible for the majority of these outbreaks, can remember specific human odors. During the course of a brood, a single female mosquito can lay between 50 and 100 eggs. It may lay up to 10,000 eggs over its lifetime.

In order to understand why mosquitoes bite certain people, researchers conducted experiments to determine the chemical compounds in human scent that allure them. They were also able to detect negative associations in mosquitoes. These negative associations are remembered for days.

To test the effect of the human odor on mosquitoes, the authors exposed live mosquitoes to the odors. They were then placed in a flight simulator, where they were tossed around by turbulent air. This was followed by vibrations.

The researchers also tested the effect of mechanical shock on mosquitoes. This shock mimicked the experience of being swatted by a human. They found that mosquitoes were less attracted to a scent that indicated a human might have been swatted.

Researchers are still studying how mosquitoes remember bad experiences. They are also trying to determine whether or not one person’s protection extends to his or her neighbors.

The researchers are also attempting to develop anti-viral drugs that can kill mosquitoes. However, they don’t know what they’ll need to do to stop the mosquitoes from killing humans.