- Mosquitoes can rapidly learn and remember the smells of hosts, a study suggests.
- Dopamine is a key mediator of this process. Hosts who swat at mosquitoes or perform other defensive behaviours may be abandoned, no matter how sweet they are, according to the study published in Current Biology.
- Mosquitoes develop preferences for a particular vertebrate host species, and, within that population, certain individuals, they said. However, the study also proved that even if an individual is deemed delicious-smelling, a mosquito’s preference can shift if that person’s smell is associated with an unpleasant sensation.
- The researchers said mosquitoes exhibit a trait known as aversive learning by training female aedes aegypti mosquitoes to associate odours with unpleasant shocks and vibrations.