The significance of irritability, behaviouristic avoidance and allied phenomena in malaria eradication

Bull World Health Organ. 1960;22(6):721-34.


A review of the literature dealing with irritability and other behaviour phenomena shown by anopheline mosquitos in relation to house treatment with residual insecticides has indicated the need for a re-appraisal of terms and criteria. A general term, "behaviouristic avoidance", has been proposed to deal with all those aspects of behaviour in which mosquitos, irritated by sub-lethal contact with insecticide-treated surfaces, can escape apparently unharmed from treated houses.A critical examination of relevant figures has as yet failed to reveal any convincing proof as to the existence of behaviouristic resistance-that is, cases in which the phenomena of irritability and avoidance are reported to have appeared or to have been intensified only as a result of continued insecticide pressure.Various criteria are discussed in relation to establishing the existence of "behaviouristic avoidance" in a species, and in deciding whether this irritability is natural (i.e., "protective avoidance") or whether it could be attributed to an intensification of irritability under continued insecticide pressure (i.e., "behaviouristic resistance").

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles*
  • Arylsulfonates*
  • Culicidae / pharmacology*
  • DDT / pharmacology*
  • Insecticides*
  • Malaria / prevention & control*


  • Arylsulfonates
  • Insecticides
  • DDT