What Color Can Mosquitoes Not See?

Unlike humans, mosquitoes are capable of detecting color. In fact, some species are attracted to dark colors. This may help them locate their host. However, scientists aren’t sure whether mosquitoes see colors exactly the way humans do.

Researchers at the University of Washington conducted a study to discover how Aedes aegypti mosquitoes perceive color. They tested female mosquitoes to determine what they preferred to see. They discovered that yellow fever mosquitoes were attracted to orange. While other species may also have different color preferences, this study is important because it shows that mosquitoes perceive color in a specific way.

The study was funded by the University of Washington, the US Army Research Office, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. It was also conducted with funding from the National Institutes of Health. The study was published in Nature Communications.

Scientists found that Aedes aegypti female mosquitoes responded to visual stimuli in the wavelength range 430 to 660 nm. They also discovered that female mosquitoes responded strongly to 600 nm and 660 nm visual objects.

However, they didn’t show an attraction to long wavelengths. The opsin-2 gene is highly expressed in mosquitoes’ retina. This gene is tuned to the green-to-orange band of the visual spectrum. This is important because opsins are known to play a role in visual attraction to human skin.

These findings add another layer to mosquito control. Scientists hope the data will lead to the development of better repellants.