Mosquitoes Have Favorite Colors and Target Dinner Accordingly

By Medscape Staff

February 08, 2022

Hungry mosquitoes use several cues to target who they bite and are particularly drawn to the color red, according to researchers at the University of Washington.

What to know:

  • There are four cues that attract mosquitoes to humans: your breath, your sweat, the temperature of your skin, and the color red.

  • When a mosquito smells specific compounds like CO2 from our breath, their eyes react and seek out specific colors that can help them target a potential host to feed on.

  • The common mosquito species Aedes aegypti ignores colors such as green, purple, blue and white, but targets red, orange, black, or cyan.

  • Human skin, regardless of overall pigmentation, gives off a long wavelength of light that sends a red-orange "signal" to a mosquitoes eyes.

  • Filtering out red-hued colors in our skin, or wearing clothes that avoid those colors, could help keep you from being targeted by mosquitoes.

  • In all mosquitoes, only females drink blood.

This is a summary of the article "Mosquitoes are seeing red: These new findings about their vision could help you hide from these disease vectors" published in the journal Nature Communications on February 4. The full article can be found on nature.com.

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