Polski
русский
Українська

Scientists discover that mosquitoes may be attracted to certain colors: which ones

Nadiya DanyshchukNews
Scientists explain why mosquitoes are attracted to certain colors

Scientists have found that mosquitoes are attracted to certain colors, including red, orange, and black. Conversely, they ignore green, purple, blue, and white.

A new study conducted by experts from the University of Washington has shown how mosquitoes look for their prey after they smell it. The results were published in the journal Nature Communication.

According to the scientists, human skin, regardless of pigmentation, emits a strong red-orange "signal" to which mosquitoes respond.

"When these insects smell certain compounds, such as CO2 from our breath, this smell stimulates their eyes to scan for certain colors and other visual patterns that are associated with a potential victim and head towards it," explained lead author Jeffrey Riffell, a professor of biology at the University of Washington.

Scientists discover that mosquitoes may be attracted to certain colors: which ones

The findings show how mosquitoes' sense of smell affects their response to visual cues.

"One of the most frequent questions I get asked is what can you do to prevent mosquitoes from biting. Earlier, I said that there are three main cues that mosquitoes use to find a victim: your breath, your sweat, and your skin temperature. In this study, we found a fourth sign. the red color, which can be found not only on your clothes but also on the skin of every person," Riffell said.

In their experiments, the team of scientists monitored the behavior of female mosquitoes. It is known that only females of most mosquito species drink blood.

The researchers placed the insects in test chambers in which they sprayed specific odors and presented different types of visuals, such as a colored speck or a human hand.

Without any odor stimuli, the mosquitoes ignored the painted speck at the bottom of the chamber, regardless of its color.

However, after CO2 was sprayed into the chamber, mosquitoes flew to the dot if it was red, orange, black, or blue. If the dot was painted green, blue, or purple, the little bloodsuckers ignored it.

Scientists explain this as follows: humans do not smell the CO2 they exhale, while mosquitoes do. It increases the activity level of females and they start looking around for the source of the odor to find food.

Scientists compared this to the situation when a person walking down the street suddenly catches some "delicious" smell, such as cinnamon rolls, and starts looking for a bakery or a place selling pastries to eat.

Scientists discover that mosquitoes may be attracted to certain colors: which ones

"In the study, we discovered what visual elements mosquitoes look for after smelling their version of a bakery," Riffell explained.

"Experiments with colored specks showed that after smelling CO2, mosquitos prefer certain wavelengths in the visible spectrum.

Humans see different wavelengths of light as different colors: for example, a wavelength of 650 nanometers is displayed as red, and a wavelength of 450 nanometers is displayed as blue.

Researchers don't know if mosquitos' eyes perceive colors in the same way as human eyes. However, most of the colors that mosquitoes prefer after smelling carbon dioxide - orange, red and black - correspond to longer wavelengths of light.

When the researchers used filters to remove long-wave signals or put a green, purple, blue, or white glove on their hand, the mosquitoes did not fly to the stimulus after being sprayed in the CO2 chamber.

Knowing which colors hungry mosquitoes react to and which ones they are indifferent to can help develop more effective methods of insect repellent.

Subscribe to OBOZREVATEL on Telegram and Viber to keep up with the latest news

Other News

May will be very busy: horoscope for all zodiac signs

May will be very busy: horoscope for all zodiac signs

The end of spring will be a period of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking
Stuffed eggplant in the oven: what to use for the filling

Stuffed eggplant in the oven: what to use for the filling

The dish is suitable for both everyday and festive tables