The blood-sucking insects use their senses in sequence in a relentless search to find you
AFPMB/Flickr(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Holding your breath all summer, even if possible, wouldn’t keep mosquitoes from finding you. Nor would breath-holding plus invisibility. Studies of how mosquitoes find people to bite reveal tastes and tricks that are “annoyingly robust.”
So says, literally, a report to be published in the Aug. 17 Current Biology on mosquitoes’ search strategies. The carbon dioxide exhaled by animals, the look of high-contrast objects and the warmth of bitable bodies all attract mosquitoes, but in interacting ways that make the system hard to beat. “The independent and iterative nature of the sensory-motor reflexes renders mosquitoes’ host seeking strategy annoyingly robust,” the study concludes.
Biologists have known that mosquitoes follow plumes of carbon dioxide wafting away from a breathing target. It doesn’t take much. In other research