Attraction of Culex quinquefasciatus Say, Culex tarsalis Coquillett, Culex nigripalpus Theobald, and Aedes aegypti (L.) to avian and other host odors was investigated in a dual-port olfactometer. Although attraction to a human arm was high for Ae. aegypti (>80%) and low for all Culex spp. (<25%), all species responded similarly to a chicken (55.3–73.6%). Responses of Ae. aegypti, Cx. quinquefasciatus, and Cx. nigripalpus to feathers were low (<20%) but greater than to controls. There was no difference in attraction of Cx. tarsalis to feathers or controls. Responses to CO2 (5 ml/min) were low for all species (<15%) except Cx. tarsalis, which were moderate (24.5%). When feathers were combined with CO2, the resulting attraction was additive or lower than responses to feather and CO2 alone for all species except for Cx. tarsalis, which had responses that were three-fold greater than expected if responses were additive. The CO2–feather treatments were less attractive than a chicken for all species. When olfactometer assays were extended from 3 to 20 min, responses by Ae. aegypti significantly increased to a chicken and CO2 and attraction of Cx. quinquefasciatus significantly greater to chickens, CO2, and feathers. None of the volatile compounds previously identified from feathers or uropygial glands tested were attractive. Both feather-rubbed cotton balls and hexane extracts of feathers were attractive and as attractive as feathers; however, ether extracts were not attractive. Feathers clearly contribute to the attraction of host-seeking Culex spp., and future studies will focus on identification of the attractant compounds.
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Vol. 43 • No. 2