Both the concentration and the fine-scale plume structure of host odours influence the upwind flight of female mosquitoes Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae) in a wind tunnel. The attractive effects of carbon dioxide, human skin odour and l-(+)-lactic acid were tested in homogeneous, turbulent and filamentous odour plumes. With carbon dioxide, the percentage of upwind-flying mosquitoes increased with the increasing fluctuations in concentration that occur in turbulent and filamentous plumes. In homogeneous plumes, an initial activation effect was observed, but sustained upwind flights were less frequent than in the other plumes. The opposite was found with plumes of human skin odour: the highest number of mosquitoes flew upwind in the homogeneous plume, whereas in turbulent or filamentous plumes their numbers were significantly lower. Regardless of plume type, the percentage of upwind-flying mosquitoes increased with increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and of skin odour. With l-(+)-lactic acid, the dose-response characteristics were not consistent, and the relative effects of different plume types upon upwind flights differed within different ranges of concentration. Even maximum reactions to this compound were modest compared with those to carbon dioxide or to skin odour. Our findings demonstrate (1) that mosquitoes are able to orient upwind under continuous odour stimulation and (2) that upwind flight is dependent upon plume structure in different ways for different host odour components.

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