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Review article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Modulation of odour-guided behaviour in mosquitoes

Hill, Sharon R.; Ignell, Rickard


Mosquitoes are emerging as model systems with which to study innate behaviours through neuroethology and functional genomics. Decades of work on these disease vectors have provided a solid behavioural framework describing the distinct repertoire of predominantly odour-mediated behaviours of female mosquitoes, and their dependence on life stage (intrinsic factors) and environmental cues (extrinsic factors). The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of how intrinsic factors, including adult maturation, age, nutritional status, and infection, affect the attraction to plants and feeding on plant fluids, host seeking, blood feeding, supplemental feeding behaviours, pre-oviposition behaviour, and oviposition in female mosquitoes. With the technological advancements in the recent two decades, we have gained a better understanding of which volatile organic compounds are used by mosquitoes to recognise and discriminate among various fitness-enhancing resources, and characterised their neural and molecular correlates. In this review, we present the state of the art of the peripheral olfactory system as described by the neural physiology, functional genomics, and genetics underlying the demonstrated changes in the behavioural repertoire in female mosquitoes. The review is meant as a summary introduction to the current conceptual thinking in the field.


Olfaction; Neuroethology; Plant seeking; Host seeking; Oviposition

Published in

Cell and Tissue Research
2021, Volume: 383, number: 1, pages: 195-206
Publisher: SPRINGER