Geographic variation in attraction to human odor compounds by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae): A laboratory study

Craig Williams, Scott A. Ritchie, Richard C. Russell, Alvaro E. Eiras, Daniel L. Kline, Martin Geier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Previous investigations of Aedes aegypti response to human odor components have revealed a number of compounds that attract host-seeking females. However, such studies have utilized only a small number of long-term laboratory Ae. aegypti colonies. Using laboratory y-olfactometers, we studied the attraction of four different Ae. aegypti populations (North Queensland, Australia; Florida, USA; Singapore; and Minas Gerais, Brazil) to a key attractant compound from human skin, lactic acid. Combinations of lactic acid with ammonia and a fatty acid (caproic acid) were also investigated. The aims were to determine the extent of variation in lactic acid dose response among populations and to see whether all four populations responded equally to combinations of human odor components. Although all Ae. aegypti populations were attracted to lactic acid, there were differences in the threshold dose: Florida 0.03 μg/min, Singapore 0.17 μg/min, North Queensland 1.92 μg/min, and Brazil 10.27 μg/min. Attraction to lactic acid alone (maximum <40%) was significantly lower than for human odor (>87% for all populations). Significant increases in attraction were observed when lactic acid was combined with ammonia or caproic acid, although not for all populations. In addition, the highest doses of caproic acid tested decreased attraction when combined with lactic acid. The divergent responses to host kairomones seen here may be evidence of adaptation to locally available hosts in different parts of the geographic range of Ae. aegypti.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1625-1634
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aedes aegypti
  • Ammonia
  • Caproic acid
  • Host-seeking
  • Lactic acid
  • Y-olfactometer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry

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