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Med Vet Entomol. 2006 Sep;20(3):280-7.

Interindividual variation in the attractiveness of human odours to the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae s. s.

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Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University, Wageningen, the Netherlands.


Differences between human individuals in their attractiveness to female mosquitoes have been reported repeatedly, but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Skin emanations from 27 human individuals, collected on glass marbles, were tested against ammonia in a dual-choice olfactometer to establish their degrees of attractiveness to anthropophilic Anopheles gambiae s.s. Giles (Diptera: Culicidae) mosquitoes. Ammonia was used as a standard odour source because of its proven attractiveness to An. gambiae s.s. Skin emanations from most volunteers attracted significantly more mosquitoes than ammonia. There were clear differences in the attractiveness of skin emanations from different volunteers relative to that of ammonia, as well as in the strength of the trap entry response. Consistent differences were observed when emanations from the three most and the three least attractive volunteers were tested pairwise. No gender or age effect was found for relative attractiveness or trap entry response. Emanations from volunteers with higher behavioural attractiveness elicited higher electroantennogram response amplitudes in two pairs, but in a third pair a higher electroantennogram response was found for the less attractive volunteer. These results confirm that odour contributes to the differences in attractiveness of humans to mosquitoes.

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