Olfaction in Anopheles mosquitoes

Chem Senses. 2021 Jan 1;46:bjab021. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjab021.


As vectors of disease, mosquitoes are a global threat to human health. The Anopheles mosquito is the deadliest mosquito species as the insect vector of the malaria-causing parasite, which kills hundreds of thousands every year. These mosquitoes are reliant on their sense of smell (olfaction) to guide most of their behaviors, and a better understanding of Anopheles olfaction identifies opportunities for reducing the spread of malaria. This review takes a detailed look at Anopheles olfaction. We explore a range of topics from chemosensory receptors, olfactory neurons, and sensory appendages to behaviors guided by olfaction (including host-seeking, foraging, oviposition, and mating), to vector management strategies that target mosquito olfaction. We identify many research areas that remain to be addressed.

Keywords: chemosensory receptors; host-seeking; malaria; olfactory neurons; sensory appendages; vector management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anopheles / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Olfactory Receptor Neurons / metabolism
  • Receptors, Odorant / metabolism
  • Smell / physiology*


  • Receptors, Odorant