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The Nose Knows: How Malaria Mosquitoes Sniff Out Human Targets [Slide Show]

Researchers are learning much more about how Anopheles gambiae, the primary malaria mosquito, uses its smell organs to find human targets; the work involved stunning images from scanning electron microscopes

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GOTCHA:

Other pores (slits facing downward) wait for human odor molecules. Malaria mosquitoes can sense humans from as far as 50 meters away.....[ More ]

SUCKING IN SMELLS:

A pitted peg has a pore that allows individual molecules to enter. Receptor cells inside the pore latch onto the molecules if they have a telltale shape. Work by molecular biologist John Carlson at Yale University indicates that receptor cells are highly tuned to single odor molecules emitted by humans.....[ More ]

READY TO REACT:

A peg on one sensilla probes the air.....[ More ]

FEELING THE AIR:

The bristles, or flagellomeres, have different kinds of sensilla—hairlike structures that react as airborne molecules pass by.....[ More ]

PROBOSCIS AND PALPS:

Malaria mosquitoes detect odors with a pair of antennae (shorter, outside structures) that surround a thicker, central proboscis, which controls the insect's piercing, blood-sucking stylets (the two ribbonlike strands).....[ More ]

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