The suggestion that mosquitoes can discriminate ABO blood group status in man was re-examined and an attempt made to determine recognition mechanisms.
Host choice was assessed in the laboratory by recording landings on and blood-meals taken from the forearms of pairs of human volunteers in a 10-min exposure to 20 females of species A of the Anopheles gambiae complex, and an alternative procedure, which did not involve mosquitoes probing the host's skin, was developed and evaluated. The presence of weals on the host's skin was found to be an unreliable indicator of probing or feeding activity by mosquitoes. The effect of thermally induced sweating was also investigated.
No effect of ABO blood group status on host choice was found. Mosquitoes did, however, show a highly significant preference to land and feed on a subject when thermogenic sweating was induced. Secretor substances in the sweat did not influence host selection.
The predictive value of host variables such as MN blood group, skin temperature and humidity, skin colour and forearm hair density in determining host choice was examined. Very little of the observed variation in mosquito activity could be accounted for by these host variables within the ranges used.