It’s strange, but amazingly true that mosquitoes may not bite all the people in the same place. And only a selective set of people may fall prey to these tiny blood suckers that put millions of lives at stake by spreading malaria - the most prevalent life-threatening disease in the world. Scientists have worked out the answers why and how mosquitoes make a beeline for certain people and leave others almost untouched.
Specific cells in one of the three organs that make up the mosquito’s nose are tuned to identify the different chemicals that make up human body odor. To the mosquito, some people’s sweat simply smells better than others because of the proportions of the carbon dioxide, octenol and other compounds that make up body odor. It’s those people who are most likely to be bitten.
Mosquitoes use three organs to smell and taste – a feathery antenna which can identify a wide range of different chemicals, a proboscis used for short range detection and the maxillary palp for longer range smelling.
Scientists have found that maxillary palp contains a series of highly specialized receptor cells used to detect the different components of human body odor. Professors of biological sciences believe, mosquitoes are good transmitters of malaria because they are extremely good at finding people to bite, and maxillary palps serve as the malaria mosquito’s long range detection system.
So, if you think you are the mosquito’s delight, better take care!