Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

What makes mosquitoes suck blood?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Diseases spread by Mosquitoes; Factors driving mosquito evolution.

Why in the News?

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 1 has suggested that a pair of hormones work together to activate or suppress mosquitoes’ blood cravings.

Mosquito Species and Behavior

  • There are around 3500 mosquito species globally, found on every continent except Antarctica.
  • Female mosquitoes consume blood to aid in egg development.
  • After feeding, female mosquitoes lose their appetite for blood until they lay their eggs.

Research by Michael Strand and Team

  • Strand observed that levels of the mosquito gut hormone F (NPF) spiked when mosquitoes were seeking a host and dropped after feeding.
  • Their study analyzed mosquito enteroendocrine cells responsible for gut hormone production.
  • Hormonal Mechanisms:
    • NPF levels increased before blood meals and decreased six hours after feeding.
    • Another gut hormone, RYamide, was found to influence mosquitoes’ blood lust. As NPF levels decreased after a blood meal, RYamide levels increased, and vice versa.
    • The researchers concluded that NPF and RYamide work together to regulate mosquitoes’ attraction to humans and other hosts.

Implications of the Study

  • Controlling the Deadliest Animal: Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the planet, acting as vectors for diseases such as malaria, dengue, West Nile virus, yellow fever, Zika, chikungunya, and lymphatic filariasis, which collectively kill more people than any other creature.
  • Pesticide Development: The discovery could lead to new pesticide targets for preventing mosquito reproduction and disease transmission.

Note: Mosquitoes are responsible for over 1 million human deaths per year worldwide. They transmit deadly diseases like malaria, yellow fever, dengue, and Zika virus


[2023] ‘Wolbachia method’ is sometimes talked about with reference to which one of the following?

(a) Controlling the viral diseases spread by mosquitoes
(b) Converting crop residues into packing material
(c) Producing biodegradable plastics
(d) Producing biochar from thermo-chemical conversion of biomass

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