Many hematophagous arthropods are vectors of diseases. They find their host using a range of cues, of which carbon dioxide is often crucial. Especially for arthropods that have a specific host preference, skin volatiles play an important role when they search for their host. By volatile collection followed by gas chromatography, hundreds of skin volatiles can be identified of which a large subset is produced by skin bacteria. The olfactory response of the arthropod to these compounds can be evaluated with electroantennograms, in olfactometers and (semi-)field settings. The identification and evaluation of these compounds has led to the development of novel attractants or repellents and can be used in vector monitoring and intervention programs. More recently, the skin microbiome has been shown to play a role in the attractiveness of a host to arthropods by the metabolome released by resident skin bacteria. The microbiota might also be important on the direct transmission of pathogens by arthropods at the skin interface. This second aspect is largely unexplored.
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