Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Volatile phytochemicals as mosquito semiochemicals

Volume 8, May 2014, Pages 196–201

Volatile phytochemicals as mosquito semiochemicals



Mosquitoes utilize plant volatiles to select for a suitable nectar source.
A number of volatile collection and analytical techniques have been used to identify these volatile compounds.
Several plant volatile compounds have been identified as potential cues utilized by mosquitoes in locating host plants.
These compounds present a new dimension in the management of mosquito vectors of disease such as malaria.


Plant biochemical processes result in the release of an array of volatile chemical substances into the environment, some of which are known to play important plant fitness enhancing functions, such as attracting pollinators, thermal tolerance of photosynthesis, and defense against herbivores. Cunningly, phytophagous insects have evolved mechanisms to utilize these volatiles to their own advantage, either to colonize a suitable host for feeding, reproduction and oviposition or avoid an unsuitable one. The volatile compounds involved in plant–insect chemical interactions have been widely exploited in the management of agricultural pests. On the other hand, use of plant volatiles in the management of medically important insects is limited, mainly due to paucity of information on their role in disease vector–plant interactions. To date, a total of 29 plant volatile compounds from various chemical classes, including phenols, aldehydes, alcohols, ketones and terpenes, have been identified as mosquito semiochemicals. In this review, we present highlights of mosquito–plant interactions, the available evidence of nectar feeding, with particular emphasis on sources of plant attractants, methods of plant volatile collection and the candidate plant volatile compounds that attract mosquitoes to nectar sources. We also highlight the potential application of these phytochemical attractants in integrated mosquito management.

Graphical abstract

Full-size image (13 K)


  • Plant–insect interactions; 
  • Phytochemicals; 
  • Semiochemicals; 
  • Attractants; 
  • Mosquitoes;
  • Disease vectors

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