Long-Range But Not Short-Range Attraction of Male Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) Mosquitoes to Humans

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Abstract

Female Aedes aegypti (Linnaeus) mosquitoes integrate multiple sensory cues to locate human hosts for blood meals. Although male Ae. aegypti swarm around and land on humans in nature to mate, direct evidence of attraction to humans is limited. Male mosquito attraction to human host cues is often undetectable in confined laboratory assays, leading to a misconception that male mosquitoes are not attracted to humans. We used semifield experiments to demonstrate robust attraction of male Ae. aegypti to humans. Human-baited traps captured up to 25% of released males within 15 min, whereas control traps without humans as bait failed to capture males. Rapid attraction to humans was further demonstrated through videography. Males swarmed around and landed on human subjects, with no activity recorded in paired unbaited controls. Finally, we confirm the lack of discernible male attraction to humans in small laboratory cages. Our experiments demonstrate that both male and female Ae. aegypti show attraction to humans, but with clear sex-specific behavioral differences at short-range. Male mosquito attraction to humans is likely to be important for mating success in wild populations and its basis should be further explored. Our results highlight the importance of arena size and assay design for mosquito behavioral research. A better understanding of host cues that attract males could help us to improve mosquito surveillance and control.

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Amos, B. A., Hoffmann, A. A., Staunton, K. M., Lau, M. J., Burkot, T. R., & Ross, P. A. (2022). Long-Range But Not Short-Range Attraction of Male Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) Mosquitoes to Humans. Journal of Medical Entomology, 59(1), 83–88. https://doi.org/10.1093/jme/tjab164

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