Submitted to: Journal of Vector Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/17/2005
Publication Date: 6/1/2006
Citation: Allan, S.A., Bernier, U.R., Kline, D.L. 2006. Attraction of mosquitoes to volatiles associated with blood. Journal of Vector Ecology. 31(1):71-79.
Interpretive Summary: With the recent introduction and subsequent spread of West Nile across the United States, Culex mosquitoes have become the focus of many laboratory studies on ecology, control and disease transmission. Critical to these studies is the ability to easily rear Culex in the laboratory, however, some Culex species prefer to feed on birds and do not feed on artificial membranes. Essential to the better understanding on the responses of mosquitoes to odors from blood is the development of an effective assay. In this study conducted at USDA's Center for Medial, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (CMAVE) in Gainesville (Florida), the responses of Aedes and Culex mosquitoes to beef and chicken blood were compared in laboratory assays. The olfactometer and landing assays were clearly effective in detecting mosquito responses to blood. Additionally these assays were used to identify several carboxylic acids and sulfides that affected mosquito behavior. These methods can form the basis for understanding the roles of odors in mosquito feeding and ultimately improve rearing protocols for mosquitoes.
Technical Abstract: Responses of Aedes aegypti, Culex quinquefasciatus and Culex nigripalpus to volatiles and compounds associated with bovine and avian blood presented in collagen membranes were evaluated in olfactometer and landing assays. The presence of attractants produced by blood were supported by more attraction of all species to blood than water controls in the olfactometer. Females of Ae. aegypti and Cx. quinquefasciatus were more attracted to bovine blood than to avian blood, however, there was no difference with Cx. nigripalpus responses. In landing assays, significantly more females of all species landed on casings with blood than on water controls. There was no difference in landing of Ae. aegypti on bovine or avian blood, however, significantly more females of Cx. quinquefasciatus and Cx. nigripalpus landed on avian blood compared to bovine blood. Blood presented in collagen casings was an effective method for evaluating in-flight attraction and landing in all three species. In the olfactometer, several individual compounds elicited attraction in all species, however, none were as attractive as blood for Ae. aegypti and Cx. quinquefasciatus. In landing assays, several acids and sulfides elicited landing with Ae. aegypti responding to the greatest number of compounds. These assay methods are effective for evaluation of volatile compounds from blood and although responses were obtained to several compounds, none were as effective as blood in the olfactometer and landing assays.