From: University of Notre Dame
Published June 16, 2017 10:34 AM

Researchers use light to manipulate mosquitoes

Scientists at the University of Notre Dame have found that exposure to just 10 minutes of light at night suppresses biting and manipulates flight behavior in the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, the major vector for transmission of malaria in Africa, according to new research published in the journal Parasites and Vectors.

Critical behaviors exhibited by the species, such as feeding, egg laying and flying, are time-of-day specific, including a greater propensity for nighttime biting. A recent report from the World Health Organization stated an estimated 212 million people worldwide are infected with the disease, resulting in 429,000 deaths – mostly children.

Insecticide-treated bed nets and walls have helped prevent bites and reduce malaria, but researchers say mosquitoes are adapting to preventive conditions, leaving adults and children vulnerable in the early evening and early morning hours – when they are not under the nets or in the house.

“Anopheline mosquitoes are adapting to these current methods by developing resistance to insecticides and by shifting feeding to earlier in the evening or later into the early morning, times of the day when people are not in bed and therefore not protected by a net. So what used to be an efficient method is becoming less effective,” said Giles Duffield, associate professor of biology in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame and the Eck Institute for Global Health, who specializes in the molecular biology of circadian rhythms and photobiology in mammals and mosquitoes. “We need to discover new methods to address mosquito control and prevention. The systems and tools we currently have including global distribution and usage of insecticide-treated bed nets and spraying are not enough.”

Continue reading at University of Notre Dame

Photo: Scientists at the University of Notre Dame have found that exposure to just 10 minutes of light at night suppresses biting and manipulates flight behavior in the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, the major vector for transmission of malaria in Africa. (Credit: University of Notre Dame)

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