Bulletin of Entomological Research

Research Article

The range of attraction of single baits for some West African mosquitoes

M. T. Gilliesa1 and T. J. Wilkesa1

a1 School of Biological Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, England

Field experiments were conducted in the Gambia to measure the convergence of mosquitoes towards single bait-animals (calf or man) or to an equivalent source of carbon dioxide, the mosquitoes being caught in ramp-traps. Catches of unfed females of Anopheles melas Theo. fell off steeply with increasing distance up to 15 yd from animal bait; with carbon dioxide as bait, raised catches were only recorded out to 10 yd. Catches of other Anopheles spp. with calf-bait gave similar results to those for A. melas. A positive effect of the calf on densities at 15 yd was obtained for Culex tritaeniorhynchus Giles but this was less clear-cut in the case of C. thalassius Theo.; with carbon dioxide as bait, raised catches of both species were recorded at 10 yd but not at 15 yd. Both types of bait gave raised catches of the C. decens group only at 5 yd. It is concluded that A. melas and other Anopheles spp. were detecting and responding to the single animal bait from 15–20 yd, C. tritaeniorhynchus and C. thalassius from 10–20 yd, and the C. decens group from 5 yd. In all except the last named group, as also for the other Anopheles spp., on which data are lacking, the range of attraction of carbon dioxide was less than 15 yd. Olfactory cues were therefore held to be responsible for long-range orientation in these three species of mosquitoes, the effect being most marked with A. melas.

(Received June 18 1970)