A key step in mosquito mating is auditory: Male mosquitoes detect the precise buzz of a female nearby, often in the midst of large swarms of other mosquitoes. A new study identifies a specific neurotransmitter chemical, octopamine, linked to mosquito hearing, suggesting that targeting it with insecticide could be a new potential avenue for mosquito management.
Following the discovery that mosquitoes can ride high-altitude winds to travel long distances, further research is adding to both the scope and variety of species engaged in such migrations—factors sure to complicate efforts to curb transmission of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases in Africa.
Larvae of the southern house mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus) fared well in a new study when fed a diet of corn or pine pollen. The findings suggest corn pollen could help the species— key vector of West Nile virus in the U.S.—thrive in habitats near agricultural areas.
A new study shows the malaria-transmitting Anopheles stephensi has a strong preference for type B human blood. The finding has implications for identifying individuals at high risk of mosquito-borne disease, but those with other blood types shouldn't put away the insect repellent.
Testing field-caught mosquitoes for insecticide resistance is a critical effort in the fight against malaria and other vector-borne diseases. Researchers in Thailand say a "forced oviposition" method has proven successful in inducing field-caught Anopheles mosquitoes to lay eggs and spawn lab populations big enough for insecticide-resistance testing.