Why are some people bitten more than others?

Trends Parasitol. 2001 Dec;17(12):578-81. doi: 10.1016/s1471-4922(01)02116-x.


Much progress has been made in describing how it is, in a mechanistic sense, that some vertebrate hosts (species or individuals) are bitten more than others, principally because of their odour or appearance. Little attention has been paid to why, in an evolutionary sense, these particular animals are bitten. Irrespective of the proximate mechanisms of host choice, there must be an intense selection pressure on insects to feed on those hosts that are most amenable to being bitten. We should be better able to predict host choice by understanding the evolutionary processes at work.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Insect Bites and Stings / parasitology*
  • Insect Vectors / physiology*
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Odorants