How Do Mosquitoes Remember You?
Several species of mosquitoes are known to remember certain odors. The Aedes aegypti mosquito species is a common cause of dengue fever and Zika outbreaks. It’s also known to remember the smell of human blood. These species can also be trained to avoid humans with odors they don’t like.
Researchers recently explored the odor-learning process of mosquitoes. They found that female mosquitoes can remember the taste and smell of blood. They can also remember the smell of swatters. This is because mosquitoes have a receptor for odors of animal skin and carbon dioxide plumes from animal breath.
In addition to these receptors, mosquitoes have dopamine in their brains. Dopamine plays a key role in learning for many animals. It’s involved in associative learning, punishment-based learning, and reward-based learning.
Scientists in the UK recently studied the Southern house mosquito, which is known to transmit yellow fever. They found that female mosquitoes tend to specialize on a few individual hosts. This allows them to pick on individuals who have sweet-smelling blood.
Researchers are interested in learning more about how mosquitoes learn. They have found that mosquitoes learn to avoid humans who smell bad, and they may learn to avoid individuals who perform defensive behaviors. They also learned to avoid humans with odors that were associated with painful shocks.
Researchers are also working to isolate the chemicals that make humans smell appealing to mosquitoes. These compounds may be used to create sprays to deter mosquitoes.