We now know the favorite colors of mosquitoes

In order to better understand the functioning of certain animal species, scientists have long carried out various experiments. Recently, a team of researchers conducted studies on mosquitoes in order to understand how they select partners or even potential victims. Ultimately, these tests revealed that mosquitoes would prefer certain colors.

Indeed, these insects would only be attracted by certain colors such as red, orange, black or cyan. However, in the absence of the carbon dioxide emitted during exhalation in humans, these mosquitoes do not react. The logical conclusion was that this gas would be the trigger of the activity of these diptera.

Many experts, including Professor Jeffrey Riffell, a researcher in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington, participated in this research with surprising results. Details of the study have been published in the journal NatureCommunications.

Carbon dioxide as a trigger

In order to go step by step to eliminate superfluous and misleading factors, scientists have process by elimination. First, mosquitoes were placed in small test jars in the presence of certain well-defined colors. Then these colors were gradually changed. Surprisingly, none reaction has been obtained from these insects.

However, after spraying carbon dioxide in the environment of the experiment, a sudden rise of the activity mosquitoes were observed.

When they smell specific compounds, such as carbon dioxide in our breath, this odor stimulates the eyes to seek out specific colors and other visual patterns, which are associated with a potential host, and to steer towards them. ยป

Jeffrey Riffell, researcher in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington

Great color reactivity

In the presence of carbon dioxide, scientists have noticed that mosquitoes have preferences for certain colorsmore than for others, such as orange, red and black. These shades correspond to lengths wave longer light.

Furthermore, the skin humanregardless of its hue, also emits a long-wavelength signal in the orange red range. Thus, in the presence of pigmentation of human skin, mosquitoes have again flown to the visual stimulus after carbon dioxide was sprayed into the chamber.

When researchers have filters long wavelength signalsor worn green color glovescarbon dioxide-primed mosquitoes no longer flew toward the stimulus.


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