Effect of textile colour on vector mosquito host selection: a simulated field study in Mali, West Africa

Ursula Benz, Mohamad M. Traore, Edita E. Revay, Amadou S. Traore, Alexey M. Prozorov, Issa Traoré, Amy Junnila, Liwang Cui, Aidas Saldaitis, Aboubakr S. Kone, Roman V. Yakovlev, Younoussa Ziguime, Petrányi Gergely, Siriman Samake, Alou Keita, Günter C. Müller, Thomas Weitzel, Camilla Rothe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The effect of clothing colour on the biting rates of different vector mosquito species is not well understood. Studies under tropical field conditions are lacking. This study aimed to determine the influence of clothing colours on mosquito biting rates in rural and suburban settings in West Africa. METHODS: We performed a simulated field study in a suburban and a rural site in Mali using Mosquito-Magnet traps utilizing CO2 and other attractants, which were covered with black, white, and black/white striped textile sheets covers. These targets operated continuously for 10 consecutive days with bright nights (around full moon) and 10 consecutive days with dark nights (around new moon). Trapped mosquitoes were collected and catch rates counted hourly. Mosquitoes were morphologically identified to the species complex level (Anopheles gambiae s.l. and Culex pipiens s.l.) or species level (Aedes aegypti). A subset of Anopheles specimens were further identified by molecular methods. RESULTS: Under bright-night conditions, An. gambiae s.l. was significantly more attracted to black targets than to white and striped targets; during dark nights, no target preference was noted. During bright nights, Cx. pipiens s.l. was significantly more attracted to black and striped targets than to white targets; a similar trend was noted during dark nights (not significant). For day-active Ae. aegypti, striped targets were more attractive than the other targets and black were more attractive than white targets. CONCLUSIONS: The study firstly demonstrated that under field conditions in Mali, West Africa, mosquito catch rates were influenced by different clothing colours, depending on mosquito species and light conditions. Overall, light colours were least attractive to host-seeking mosquitoes. Using white or other light-coloured clothing can potentially reduce bite exposure and risk of disease transmission in endemic tropical regions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 3 Jun 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of International Society of Travel Medicine. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


  • Aedes
  • Anopheles
  • arboviral infections
  • Culex
  • exposure prophylaxis
  • host-seeking behaviour
  • malaria
  • mosquito-borne diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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