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Mosquito species are attracted to and repelled by light at different times of the day


In a new study, the researchers found that night- and day-time mosquitoes were behaviorally attracted and repelled by different colored lights at different times of the day.

Mosquitoes are one of the major vectors of disease affecting humans and animals around the world, and their findings have important implications for using light to control them.

A team led by the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine is involved in daytime biting mosquito species (Aedes aegypti, also known as yellow fever mosquito) and night biting mosquito species (Anopheles coluzzi, a member of the Anopheles gambiae family, a major malaria vector).

They found a clear reaction between UV and other colors of light between the two species. Researchers have also found that light preferences depend on the mosquito’s sex, species, time of day, and color of light.

“Traditional knowledge shows that insects are non-specifically attracted to UV light, so the UV “bug zapper” is widely used for insect control.

Dr. Todd C. Holmes, the main researcher, says that mosquitoes that sting in the daytime are attracted to a wide spectrum of light during the daytime, whereas mosquitoes that sting at night are more sensitive to short-wavelength light during the day. I discovered that I had photophobia. At the Faculty of Physiology and Biophysics of the UCI School of Medicine.

Our results show that timing and light spectrum are important for species-specific light control of harmful mosquitoes

Todd C. Holmes, Principal Investigator and Professor, UC Irvine School of Medicine Physiology and Biophysics

A new study entitled “Circular Regulation of Light-Induced Attraction and Avoidance Behavior in Daytime-Nighttime Kasaka” Current biology.. Lisa S. Bike is a graduate student and first author at the UCI School of Medicine with a recent PhD.

Mosquitoes pose a widespread threat to humans and other animals as vectors of disease. Diseases transmitted by mosquitoes have historically been estimated to have caused the death of half of all humans to date.

A new study shows that daytime mosquitoes, especially females that require blood meal for fertilized eggs, are attracted to light during the daytime regardless of their spectrum. In contrast, night-eaten mosquitoes especially avoid ultraviolet (UV) and blue light during the day.

Previous studies in Drosophila (associated with mosquitoes) in Holmes Labs have determined light sensors and circadian molecular mechanisms of light-mediated attraction/avoidance behavior.

Therefore, molecular disruption of the circadian clock significantly interferes with light-induced attraction and mosquito avoidance behavior. Light-based insect control currently does not take into account day-to-night behavioral profiles that change with the daily light-dark cycle.

“Light is a key regulator of circadian rhythms and evokes a wide range of time-specific behaviors,” Holmes said.

“Understanding how insects respond to short-wavelength light in a species-specific manner will help control harmful insects more effectively and reduce the need for toxic pesticides that are harmful to the environment. We can develop new friendly alternatives.”

This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the ARCS Foundation. This new study builds on Holmes Lab’s previous work at the UCI School of Medicine published in the Science, Nature and Minutes of the National Academy of Sciences over the past few years.


See journal:

Alright, LS, other.. (2020) Circadian regulation of light-induced attraction and avoidance behavior in day and night biting mosquitoes. Current biology..


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