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Acta Trop. 2019 Mar 25;194:93-99. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2019.03.027. [Epub ahead of print]

The electronic song "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" reduces host attack and mating success in the dengue vector Aedes aegypti.

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Institute of Biodiversity and Environmental Conservation, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia; Mosquito Research and Control Unit, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. Electronic address:
Faculty of Resource Science and Technology, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Kota Samarahan, Malaysia.
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Fukuoka University, Japan.
Faculty of Medicine, Lambung Mangkurat University, South Kalimantan, Indonesia.
School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia.
School of Food Science and Technology, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuaka Terengganu, Malaysia.
Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Thailand.
Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Thailand.


Sound and its reception are crucial for reproduction, survival, and population maintenance of many animals. In insects, low-frequency vibrations facilitate sexual interactions, whereas noise disrupts the perception of signals from conspecifics and hosts. Despite evidence that mosquitoes respond to sound frequencies beyond fundamental ranges, including songs, and that males and females need to struggle to harmonize their flight tones, the behavioral impacts of music as control targets remain unexplored. In this study, we examined the effects of electronic music (Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites by Skrillex) on foraging, host attack, and sexual activities of the dengue vector Aedes aegypti. Adults were presented with two sound environments (music-off or music-on). Discrepancies in visitation, blood feeding, and copulation patterns were compared between environments with and without music. Ae. aegypti females maintained in the music-off environment initiated host visits earlier than those in the music-on environment. They visited the host significantly less often in the music-on than the music-off condition. Females exposed to music attacked hosts much later than their non-exposed peers. The occurrence of blood feeding activity was lower when music was being played. Adults exposed to music copulated far less often than their counterparts kept in an environment where there was no music. In addition to providing insight into the auditory sensitivity of Ae. aegypti to sound, our results indicated the vulnerability of its key vectorial capacity traits to electronic music. The observation that such music can delay host attack, reduce blood feeding, and disrupt mating provides new avenues for the development of music-based personal protective and control measures against Aedes-borne diseases.


Blood feeding; Copulation; Dengue vector; Host attack; Music; Visitation

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