The color of a mosquito bite

Mosquito by Stephanie

Mosquito by Stephanie

Although this study didn’t focus on our Michigan-bred mosquito, I thought you’d enjoy this article from Sci-News about how specific colors impact the feeding behavior of mosquitos:

A new University of Washington-led study shows that after detecting a telltale gas that we exhale, yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) fly toward specific colors, including red, orange, black and cyan, but they ignore other colors, such as green, purple, blue and white.

“Mosquitoes appear to use odors to help them distinguish what is nearby, like a host to bite,” said Professor Jeffrey Riffell, a researcher in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington.

“When they smell specific compounds, like carbon dioxide from our breath, that scent stimulates the eyes to scan for specific colors and other visual patterns, which are associated with a potential host, and head to them.”

…The researchers tracked individual mosquitoes in miniature test chambers, into which they sprayed specific odors and presented different types of visual patterns — such as a colored dot or a tasty human hand.

Without any odor stimulus, mosquitoes largely ignored a dot at the bottom of the chamber, regardless of color.

After a spritz of carbon dioxide into the chamber, mosquitos continued to ignore the dot if it was green, blue or purple in color. But if the dot was red, orange, black or cyan, mosquitoes would fly toward it.

…If the researchers used filters to remove long-wavelength signals, or had the researcher wear a green-colored glove, then carbon dioxide-primed mosquitoes no longer flew toward the stimulus.

You can read more at Sci-News & (if you’re so inclined) dig MUCH deeper into the study from Nature Communications

Stephanie took this pic 13 years ago & shares that three of this little ladies friends bit her while she was taking the photo! Thanks to Stephanie for her service & see more in her Bugs gallery on Flickr.

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