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Mosquitoes Prefer Attractive People

Mosquitoes do not randomly perch on just anybody, but choose their victims selectively, searching for the most aromatically appealing humans, according to a study released recently.

"Mosquitoes use odor to sort attractive people from the unattractive to find those that are the most tasty," said University of Florida entomologist, Jerry Butler, in a statement.

In a study of what attracted mosquitoes to people, Butler said he worked off a theory that they go for humans who provide the richest source of cholesterol and B vitamins, which the pesky insects need to live on but do not produce themselves.

Butler found one sure way to stop attracting them - stop breathing. He said that mosquitoes can sniff out an attractive human dinner target from as far away as 64.3 km.

When human beings exhale, they expel a plume of carbon dioxide and other odors that travel through the air. The appetizing concoction is the olfactory equivalent of a dinner bell, alerting mosquitoes that a warm meal is within range. Perspiration, a barely avoidable human condition, is also a mosquito lure - but only if the sweat has marinated and formed bacteria.

When a mosquito is trailing an attractive target, it zig zags following the breath plume until it makes contact, landing on the skin and patiently searches for just the right spot to insert its stylet for an 8-to-10 second feeding session.

Bathing helps reduce the attractiveness of sticky bodies but strangely enough after-bath products do not. Skin care products that clean, soften and moisturize may improve a person's appearance, but are also tantalizing to mosquitoes. Butler said. Certain medications, including heart and blood pressure medicine, can also alter a person's likelihood of being bitten.

Butler said that he conducted the research in order to explore the tastes of mosquitoes and help humans avoid mosquito-borne diseases.

"If you can figure out who, among your friends, is attractive to mosquitoes, be sure to invite that person to all your outdoor gatherings. You might be able to spare your other guests from mosquito bites," Butler said.

     
  1.

From the passage, one can deduce that an entomologist is a person who specializes in the study of

       
    (A)

insects in general

    (B) scent and its relationship to mosquitoes
    (C) ways to avoid mosquito-borne diseases
    (D) the eating habits of humans and mosquitoes
       
  2.

At a garden party, mosquitoes will most likely zoom in on the person who

       
    (A) is sweating profusely
    (B) is prone to heart attacks
    (C)

has high cholesterol levels

    (D) has drenched herself with perfumes
       
  3.

From the passage, one can deduce that the most highly developed sensory mode of the mosquito is its sense of smell. Which of the following statements shows convincing proof ?

       
    (A) The mosquito searches for the most aromatically appealing human being.
    (B) The mosquito can sort attractive people from the unattractive.
    (C)

The mosquito can sniff out a human target 64 km away

    (D) The mosquito can sniff out people who are sweating.
       
  4.

When human beings exhale, the substances they leave in a trail behind them are

     

I  carbon dioxide

II  sweat

III  moisturizers

IV  medication taken in

    (A) I and II
    (B) II and III
    (C) III and IV
    (D)

I and IV

       
  5.

Mosquitoes are drawn to human beings in two ways. These are

     

I  through the odors a person emits via his breath

II  the attractive way a person carries himself

III  the smells that a person emits as a result of his medication

IV  the clothing a person wears on his body

    (A) I and II
    (B) II and III
    (C) III and IV
    (D)

I and III

       
  6. What can you conclude about the mosquito ?
       
    (A) It is a voracious hunter.
    (B)

It is a selective hunter.

    (C) It is a hunter of strong smells.
    (D) It is a hunter of the night.
           
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  Answers : 1) A    2) C    3) C    4) D    5) D     6) B  
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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