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Over 3,500 mosquito species have been described in the family Culicidae, inhabiting every continent except Antarctica. Preferred hosts vary widely across mosquito species from humans and other mammals to reptiles, birds and arthropods. Anthropophilic disease-vector mosquitoes have a significant impact on global ecosystems, epidemiology, and economies by their impact on human health and welfare, yet little is known about why they preferentially feed on humans and certain subpopulations in particular.
In order to understand why mosquitoes seek to bite their preferred hosts, I am currently working in the Riffell Lab to compare chemoreceptivity, learning and memory behavior, and expression patterns of dopamine and serotonin in olfactory brain centers across species.