Mosquitoes depend on their sense of smell to find blood to drink, and to procreate. According to a study from researchers of biology at Vanderbilt University, mosquito sperm have odorant receptors that give them a sense of smell.
Mosquitoes depend on their sense of smell to find blood to drink, and in a surprising and recent discovery, to procreate.
According to a study from researchers in the Department of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University, mosquito sperm have odorant receptors that give them a sense of smell.
The study shows that the odorant receptors are located on the tail of the sperm and influence the back and forth movement.
Jason Pitts, a research assistant professor is quoted as saying: “There are reports that within one day after insemination, the sperm begin swimming around in the spermathecae. There must be one or more signals that activate this movement and our findings suggest that odorant receptors may be the sensor that receives these signals.”
This is the first discovery of insect odorant receptors in non-sensory tissue.
The same kind of receptors probably exist in human sperm, but experts aren’t sure if they play a role in reproduction.
Researchers also found odorant receptors in the sperm of several different kinds of mosquitoes, along with a species of wasp and fruit flies.
Data from the study could be used to further understand and possibly influence the reproductive processes of disease spreading insects.