Exploiting the chemical ecology of mosquito oviposition behavior in mosquito surveillance and control: a review

J Vector Ecol. 2020 Dec;45(2):155-179. doi: 10.1111/jvec.12387.


Vector control is an important component of the interventions aimed at mosquito-borne disease control. Current and future mosquito control strategies are likely to rely largely on the understanding of the behavior of the vector, by exploiting mosquito biology and behavior, while using cost-effective, carefully timed larvicidal and high-impact, low-volume adulticidal applications. Here we review the knowledge on the ecology of mosquito oviposition behavior with emphasis on the potential role of infochemicals in surveillance and control of mosquito-borne diseases. A search of PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Global Health Archive, and Google Scholar databases was conducted using the keywords mosquito, infochemical, pheromone, kairomone, allomone, synomone, apneumone, attractant, host-seeking, and oviposition. Articles in English from 1974 to 2019 were reviewed to gain comprehensive understanding of current knowledge on infochemicals in mosquito resource-searching behavior. Oviposition of many mosquito species is mediated by infochemicals that comprise pheromones, kairomones, synomones, allomones, and apneumones. The novel putative infochemicals that mediate oviposition in the mosquito subfamilies Anophelinae and Culicinae were identified. The role of infochemicals in surveillance and control of these and other mosquito tribes is discussed with respect to origin of the chemical cues and how these affect gravid mosquitoes. Oviposition attractants and deterrents can potentially be used for manipulation of mosquito behavior by making protected resources unsuitable for mosquitoes (push) while luring them towards attractive sources (pull). In this review, strategies of targeting breeding sites with environmentally friendly larvicides with the aim to develop appropriate trap-and-kill techniques are discussed.

Keywords: Culicidae; control; infochemicals; mosquito behavior; olfactory cues; oviposition; surveillance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Culicidae / physiology*
  • Mosquito Control / methods*
  • Oviposition*
  • Smell*
  • Volatile Organic Compounds*


  • Volatile Organic Compounds