We all have that person in our circle who seems to be constantly beset by mosquitoes. While others seem to go unnoticed by these pests. But what makes some people more attractive to mosquitoes than others? New research has provided some fascinating answers to this question.

A recent study relayed by The Sun and conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University revealed that mosquitoes are attracted to body odors emitted by individuals. Scientists have discovered that the latter can detect these odors from an impressive distance of 100 meters. Moreover, once they have spotted a source of body odor, they head towards it to feed on blood. The researchers were particularly interested in the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae. They conducted their experiments in an outdoor arena in Zambia. Using infrared cameras, they observed the mosquitoes as they landed on heating pads that mimicked the warmth of human skin. The results showed that body odor was a more attractive bait for mosquitoes than carbon dioxide (CO2), which is generally considered an attraction signal for these insects.

The mystery of mosquito attraction finally revealed!

However, mosquitoes are not just attracted to any body odor. The study found that they would also be selective in their preferences. The odors emitted by different people can vary depending on factors such as skin secretions, microbial metabolites, and breath emissions. Some individuals emit higher levels of carboxylic acids produced by skin microbes. This would therefore make them more attractive to mosquitoes. Other people may emit plant compounds such as eucalyptol, which would repel them. These findings could have important implications in the development of more effective mosquito repellents and traps. Understanding the mechanisms that make some people more attractive to these insects than others could also help better protect individuals from mosquito bites and disease transmission.

Why do some people attract mosquitoes more than others?


Maria T.
Maria T.

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