Buzz off! Your breath attracts bloodsucking female mozzies
Scientists have figured out how the mosquito brain uses signals to identify its next blood meal
If a female mosquito smells your breath, you could potentially become dinner.
Through behavioural experiments and real-time recording of the female mosquito brain, a team of scientists, led by researchers at the University of Washington, has discovered how the mosquito brain integrates signals from two of its sensory systems – visual and olfactory – to identify, track and home in on a potential host for her next blood meal.
The findings, published in the journal Current Biology, indicate that when the mosquitoes’ olfactory system detects certain chemical cues, they trigger changes in the mosquito brain that initiate a behavioural response. The mosquito begins to use her visual system to scan her surroundings for specific types of shapes and fly towards them, presumably associating those shapes with potential hosts...