Mosquito responses to carbon dioxide were investigated in Noungou village, 30 km northeast of Ouagadougou in the Sudan savanna belt of Burkina Faso, West Africa. Species of primary interest were the main malaria vectors Anopheles gambiae s.s. and An.arabiensis, sibling species belonging to the An.gambiae complex. Data for An.funestus, An.pharoensis, Culex quinquefasciatus and Mansonia uniformis were also analysed. Carbon dioxide was used at concentrations of 0.04-0.6% (cf. 0.03% ambient concentration) for attracting mosquitoes to odour-baited entry traps (OBETs). The "attractiveness' of whole human odour was also compared with CO2 emitted at a rate equivalent to that released by the human bait. In a direct choice test with two OBETs placed side-by-side, the number of An.gambiae s.l. entering the trap with human odour was double the number trapped with CO2 alone (at the human equivalent rate), but there was no significant difference between OBETs for the other species of mosquitoes. When OBETs were positioned 20 m apart, again CO2 alone attracted half as many An.gambiae s.l. and only 40% An.funestus, 65% Ma.uniformis but twice as many An.pharoensis compared to the number trapped with human odour. The dose-response for all mosquito species was essentially similar: a linear increase in catch with increasing dose on a log-log scale. The slopes of the dose-response curves were not significantly different between species, although there were significant differences in the relative numbers caught. If the dose-response data are considered in relation to a standard human bait collection (HBC), however, the behaviour of each species was quite different. At one extreme, even the highest dose of CO2 did not catch more An.gambiae s.l. than one HBC. At the other extreme, the three highest doses of CO2 caught significantly more Ma.uniformis than did one HBC. An.pharoensis and Cx quinquefasciatus showed a threshold response to CO2, responding only at doses above that normally released by one man. An.funestus did not respond to CO2 alone at any dose in sufficient numbers to assess the dose response. Within the An.gambiae complex, An.arabiensis "chose' the CO2-baited trap with a higher probability than An.gambiae s.s. Also An.arabiensis, the less anthropophilic of the two species, was more abundant in CO2-baited OBETs than in human bait collections.