Excretion of carbon dioxide and L-lactic acid through exhalation and perspiration provides olfactory signals to mosquitoes which allow them to find and bite humans; however, mosquito species differ in this regard. This study investigated upwind responses of Anopheles stephensi, mysorensis form, an important malaria vector in Asia, to carbon dioxide and L-lactic acid under laboratory conditions. While a minimal dose of carbon dioxide (90 ppm) activated the mosquitoes, 10 times this amount suppressed them. L-lactic acid alone did not produce a significant effect by itself, but addition of 6 microg/min of L-lactic acid to a range of 90 to 410 ppm carbon dioxide resulted in attraction. The results provide further support for the hypothesis that CO2 plays an important role in the host-seeking behaviour of zoophilic mosquitoes, and suggests that L-lactic acid might play a more critical role than CO2 in the attraction of An. stephensi.

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