The Attractivity of the Head Louse, Pediculus humanus capitis (Pediculidae: Anoplura) to Isolated Compounds and Blends of Human Skin

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2022
Authors:V. Adjemian, Galassi, F. G., Picollo, M. Inés, González-Audino, P.
Journal:Journal of Medical Entomology
Date Published:Apr-28-2022
ISSN:0022-2585, 1938-2928
Keywords:Head louse, head scalp compound, insect attraction

Human head lice Pediculus humanus capitis De Geer (Phthiraptera: Pediculidae) are ectoparasites that cause pediculosis, a global scale disease mainly found in school-age children. Previous works from our laboratory found nonanal, sulcatone, and geranylacetone as the main human scalp volatile components, and individually evaluated their attraction to head lice using an olfactometer. In this work, we compared how their blends at different concentrations attract head lice, and how their blended effect compares to the effect of isolated compounds. At the concentrations evaluated, individual components did not show attraction towards head lice, but a ternary mixture of them was attractive. Moreover, a solvent extract from the human head scalp was analyzed by GC-MS, finding that tetradecanoic acid, palmitic acid, oleic acid, palmitoleic acid, and squalene are the most abundant components. Attraction to these individual compounds at natural concentrations was tested by bioassays in a circular experimental arena. No attraction was observed when the components were tested individually, but when they were evaluated as a blend they attracted head lice. This work presents new information about how chemical signals are attractive at certain concentrations and proportions. This information could be used to better understand communication mechanisms in head lice and for the development of louse repellents.

File attachments: 
Mon, 2023-08-07 16:57 -- Yokb
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith