(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists came to this conclusion in the course of observing the behavior of female mosquitoes of the species Aedes aegypti, carrying the Zika virus and yellow fever.
Biologists have found that mosquitoes react differently to the color of environmental objects in the presence of the smell of a human body. Reds, oranges and blacks grab their attention, while other hues don’t, the University of Washington (UW) said Friday.
“Traditionally, it is believed that mosquitoes are attracted to three things – a person’s breath, the smell of his sweat and the warmth emanating from the skin. We discovered the fourth landmark – red, which is painted not only on clothes, but also on the skin of any person. We hope that this will allow create new methods to repel mosquitoes,” said UW professor Jeffrey Riffell, quoted by the press service of the university.
Mosquitoes find new victims in several ways at once. Initially, they calculate their position from the excess carbon dioxide in the air, and then use body heat, as well as steam and lactic acid molecules present in human and animal sweat, to select a landing site.
Professor Riffell and his colleagues found that mosquitoes are looking for new victims not only with the help of smell and “thermal imager”, but also focusing on certain colors of the surrounding world, characteristic of the skin of people and other warm-blooded living beings.
Mosquito color preferences
Scientists came to this conclusion in the course of observing the behavior of female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, yellow fever and a number of other dangerous diseases. During the experiments, scientists placed containers with volatile molecules present in human sweat, as well as objects of different colors, next to mosquitoes.
Subsequent observations revealed an unusual pattern. Mosquitoes ignored all objects in the absence of sources of human body odor near them, but its appearance changed the color preferences of insects. In particular, the bloodsuckers began to suddenly show interest in red, orange, and black objects, while ignoring similar objects colored green or blue.
Having discovered this pattern, the scientists traced how mosquitoes react to the sight of a person’s bare hand and when putting on a green glove. It turned out that an excess of carbon dioxide in the air made the insects fly to the bare hand even at sufficiently large distances between the mosquito and the person, and green gloves made the insects ignore the person even with fairly close “contact” with him.
“Imagine that you suddenly smelled cinnamon and pies while walking. Your eyes will immediately begin to look for the bakery from which these aromas come from. We were able to discover and study a similar reaction that mosquitoes experience when smelling food,” the professor concluded. Riffell.
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