US Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in J. Med. Entomol. (2001) 38(2): 242-244.


HOST ODORS PROVIDE the olfactory cues by which mosquitoes locate blood meals (Takken 1991). Houses containing humans attract significantly more Anopheles gambiae (Giles) and Anopheles funestus (Giles) than do empty houses (Haddow 1942). Carbon dioxide, as found in human breath, attracts mosquitoes (Gillies 1980, Costantini et al. 1996, Gibson et al. 1997). Volatiles in human breath other than CO2 reportedly do not play an important role in host-seeking by An. gambiae s.s.(DeJong and Knols 1995a), indicating that body odors may provide important host-location cues by which African malaria vectors identify humans as a specific mammalian host species.

Our field study tested components of human body odor in combination with CO2 as potential attractants for the two primary African malaria vectors, An. gambiae and An. funestus. If attractive, these compounds may be used to increase trap effectiveness in malaria control programs.