Learning and Memory in Disease Vectors

Trends Parasitol. 2002 Oct;18(10):429-33. doi: 10.1016/s1471-4922(02)02370-x.


All animals can learn to some extent and it should not be surprising to discover that important vectors can also be influenced by experience. The potential effect of memory on vector behaviour, particularly vectorial capacity, has barely been investigated. Yet, how a population of blood-feeding insects distributes between available resources has important epidemiological consequences. Several recent studies have shown that behaviour during oviposition site-selection, host location and even host choice can be influenced by the environment or by experience after eclosion. The significance of these studies and their consequences for epidemiology and control are considered here.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Disease Vectors*
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology
  • Female
  • Insect Vectors / growth & development
  • Insecta / physiology*
  • Memory*
  • Models, Biological
  • Oviposition / genetics
  • Oviposition / physiology