Hungry mosquitoes use several cues to target who they bite and are particularly drawn to the color red, according to researchers at the University of Washington.

What to know:

  • There are four cues that attract mosquitoes to humans: your breath, your sweat, the temperature of your skin, and the color red.

  • When a mosquito smells specific compounds like CO2 from our breath, their eyes react and seek out specific colors that can help them target a potential host to feed on.

  • The common mosquito species Aedes aegypti ignores colors such as green, purple, blue and white, but targets red, orange, black, or cyan.

  • Human skin, regardless of overall pigmentation, gives off a long wavelength of light that sends a red-orange “signal” to a mosquitoes eyes.

  • Filtering out red-hued colors in our skin, or wearing clothes that avoid those colors, could help keep you from being targeted by mosquitos.

  • In all mosquitos, only females drink blood.

This is a summary of the article “Mosquitoes are seeing red: These new findings about their vision could help you hide from these disease vectors” published in the journal Nature Communications on February 4. The full article can be found on

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