There is a question on mosquito orientation in darkness, however the answer does not address it very specifically and I'm more interested in mosquito ability to lock on target than general navigation.

I know that they use their antennae to detect CO2 and lactic acid. However smell alone doesn't seem good enough for precise landing.

They do have eyes, however they can operate in complete darkness which means the eyes are redundant system for the attack.

They can sense heat, but they do not seem to attack non-fire based heat sources.

So how exactly does a mosquito succeed to land on piece of uncovered skin? Does this tell us anything about interfering with their navigation system?

  • $\begingroup$ In my experience, they don't navigate directly to their target: they fly around for a long time making an annoying high-pitched whine that's worse than the actual bite, at least if you're trying to sleep. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Feb 6, 2018 at 4:56

1 Answer 1


Mosquitoes do not rely on a single cue to find its host. It is the combination of CO2, temperature and odor cues, that makes mosquito an efficient blood feeder. These two papers might help you in understanding how mosquitoes target their hosts.

Genetic analysis of mosquito detection of humans

Multimodal Integration of Carbon Dioxide and Other Sensory Cues Drives Mosquito Attraction to Humans

  • $\begingroup$ +1 for an answer from Mosquito man about mosquitos $\endgroup$
    – Dubukay
    Feb 6, 2018 at 5:20

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