Scientists have developed a tool for studying the biting behaviour of common pathogen-carrying mosquitoes, according to new research published this week in eLife.
The tool, which uses an artificial blood meal and a surface that mimics human skin, will provide detailed understanding of blood feeding without using human subjects as bait. It can also fit conveniently into a backpack, allowing the study of mosquitoes in laboratory and natural environments.
Blood feeding is essential for mosquitoes to reproduce, but it is during blood feeds on human hosts that they pass on pathogens such as malaria.
“Although the initial step in obtaining a blood meal — flying towards a host — is relatively well characterised, the steps that unfold after a mosquito has landed on a host are less well understood,” explains first author Felix Hol, a researcher at Institut Pasteur and the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity, Paris, France. “There