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Date of Award

Spring 4-13-2020

Degree Type





Mosquito-borne diseases are incredibly difficult to combat due to the vast array of biological tools the mosquito has for finding humans and obtaining a blood meal. Numerous modalities mediating mosquito attraction to hosts have been investigated including vision, olfaction, hygrosensation, thermosensation, audition and mechanosensation. Out of these senses, vision is known to mediate both short range and long range attraction, and therefore deserves further exploration (Bidlingmayer 1994). In this study, gravid and non-gravid mosquitoes were both tethered and placed in a virtual flight arena to examine behavior in response to a wide-field pattern and a bar pattern. Mosquitoes were also analyzed under a microscope to establish average counts for the ommatidia. After each behavior experiment, the different treatment groups were compared using a two tailed unpaired t-test. The results showed that blood-fed status alone is sufficient to suppress the response of mosquitoes to a visual stimuli (p < 0.05). Furthermore, the count of the ommatidia number per eye was found to be for females and for males. However, to know the accuracy of these counts different methods should be used in parallel since there is disagreement over the average amount of ommatidia in the literature ranging from 200 to 800 for each compound eye of the mosquito (Hu 2013; Singh et al. 2013). By investigating these topics, we hope to gain a better understanding of mosquito behavior, particularly regarding the role of vision in navigation, host-seeking, and oviposition.