When it comes to which animals malaria carrying mosquitoes will infect, many animals are fair game. For example, researchers have known that mosquitoes will infect cows, goats and sheep in addition to humans, and that is just to name a few. However, researchers recently discovered that mosquitoes avoid infecting chickens with malaria due to the mosquitoes distaste for the smell of chickens.
As a result of this finding, researchers believe that it is possible to use a chicken’s odor as a tool in preventing malaria’s spread to other forms of life, mainly humans. The researchers determined that mosquitoes discriminate animal smells by setting up traps for the mosquitoes that were located near certain animals. The traps that were located near cows, for example, caught many mosquitoes. However, the traps that were located near chickens caught hardly any mosquitoes at all. In response to this study researchers are now invested in isolating the odor causing compounds in chickens. The researchers believe that by emitting these compounds in African villages, which are vulnerable to malaria outbreaks, they will be able to prevent further infections in humans.
Since it is now known that mosquitoes prefer the way some animals smell over others, and choose which animals to bite based on these smells, do mosquitoes prefer the way humans smell over most animals?