Irresistible odour

2019-03-07 03:17:10

MALARIA mosquitoes are attracted to fatty acids released by human skin. Ingrid van den Broek and Cornelis den Otter of Groningen University in the Netherlands found that the olfactory nerves of Anopheles mosquitoes are excited by particular fatty acids. And, as the researchers will report in a forthcoming issue of The Journal of Insect Physiology, malaria mosquitoes showed much less response to a cattle odour, octenol, than did mosquitoes that bite cattle—which did not respond as strongly to human odours. The researchers hope to isolate scents that could be used as baits for mosquito traps. As Limburger cheese had the same effect on their olfactory nerves, the finding may also explain why mosquitoes often dine on the smellier parts of our bodies such as the feet (New Scientist, 4 November 1995,