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Raimondas Mozuraitis


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Works at Department of Zoology
Telephone 08-16 40 26
Visiting address Svante Arrheniusväg 18 B
Room D 535
Postal address Zoologiska institutionen: Ekologi 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am a chemical ecologist interested in chemically mediated information flow among organisms in various systems. At present, my research is focused on infochemical interactions in parasite-vector-host system in particular human and bird malaria. I am also working with microorganism-plant-insect infochemical networks with focus on applied issues.

My research is funded by FORMAS and VR


A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2020. Muhammad Azeem (et al.). Annals of Applied Biology

    The pine weevil Hylobius abietis is an important pest causing severe damage to conifer seedlings in reforestation areas in Europe and Asia. Plants that have no evolutionary history with the pine weevil are of special interest in the search for compounds with a strong antifeedant activity. Thus, the essential oils of nine aromatic plants, viz Amomum subulatum, Cinnamomum tamala, Curcuma longa, Laurus nobilis, Ocimum basilicum, Origanum majorana, Origanum vulgare, Syzygium aromaticum and Trachyspermum ammi were extracted by hydrodistillation. The essential oil constituents were identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and antifeedant properties towards the pine weevil were assessed using choice feeding bioassay. The essential oils of C. longa, O. majorana, S. aromaticum and T. ammi showed an excellent antifeedant activity towards the pine weevil for 24 hr, whereas the essential oil of other plants showed the activity for 6 hr. There was a positive correlation between the amount of benzenoid compounds and the antifeedant activity of the essential oils. This study suggests that pine weevil non-host plant compounds have potential to be used for the protection of seedlings against pine weevil feeding. However, further study will be needed to explore the antifeedant activity of individual components and oils in the laboratory as well as in the field.

  • 2020. Björn Bohman (et al.). International Journal of Molecular Sciences 21 (2)

    Sexually deceptive orchids typically depend on specific insect species for pollination, which are lured by sex pheromone mimicry. European Ophrys orchids often exploit specific species of wasps or bees with carboxylic acid derivatives. Here, we identify the specific semiochemicals present in O. insectifera, and in females of one of its pollinator species, Argogorytes fargeii. Headspace volatile samples and solvent extracts were analysed by GC-MS and semiochemicals were structurally elucidated by microderivatisation experiments and synthesis. (Z)-8-Heptadecene and n-pentadecane were confirmed as present in both O. insectifera and A. fargeii female extracts, with both compounds being found to be electrophysiologically active to pollinators. The identified semiochemicals were compared with previously identified Ophrys pollinator attractants, such as (Z)-9 and (Z)-12-C-27-C-29 alkenes in O. sphegodes and (Z)-9-octadecenal, octadecanal, ethyl linoleate and ethyl oleate in O. speculum, to provide further insights into the biosynthesis of semiochemicals in this genus. We propose that all these currently identified Ophrys semiochemicals can be formed biosynthetically from the same activated carboxylic acid precursors, after a sequence of elongation and decarbonylation reactions in O. sphegodes and O. speculum, while in O. insectifera, possibly by decarbonylation without preceding elongation.

  • 2019. Raimondas Mozuraitis (et al.). Scientific Reports 9

    The male butterfly Pieris napi produces the anti-aphrodisiac pheromone methyl salicylate (MeS) and transfers it to the female during mating. After mating she releases MeS, when courted by conspecific males, which decreases her attractiveness and the duration of male harassment, thus increasing her time available for egg-laying. In previous studies we have shown that males produced MeS from the amino acid L-phenylalanine (L-Phe) acquired during larval stage. In this study we show that adult males of P. napi can utilize L-Phe and aromatic flower volatiles as building blocks for production of anti-aphrodisiac pheromone and transfer it to females during mating. We demonstrate this by feeding butterflies with stable isotope labelled molecules mixed in sugar solutions, and, to mimic the natural conditions, we fed male butterflies with floral nectar of Bunias orientalis plants treated with labelled L-Phe. The volatiles from butterflies and plants were collected and identified by solid phase micro extraction, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry techniques. Since P. napi is polygamous, males would gain from restoring the titre of MeS after mating and the use of aromatic precursors for production of MeS could be considered as an advantageous trait which could enable butterflies to relocate L-Phe for other needs.

  • 2019. S. Noushin Emami, Melika Hajkazemian, Raimondas Mozūraitis. Pathogens and Global Health 113 (8), 325-335

    Approximately 120 years ago the link between mosquito and the malaria transmission was discovered. However, even today it remains an open question whether the parasite is able to direct the blood-seeking and feeding behavior of its mosquito vector to maximize the probability of transmission. If the parasite has this ability, could it occur only through the alteration of the vertebrate host's volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and/or the parasite alteration of the behavior of the infected vector in a manner that favors its transmission? Although some recent empirical evidence supports the hypothesis regarding the parasite ability in alteration of the vertebrate host's VOCs, the role of parasite alteration and behavioral differences between infected and uninfected female mosquitoes toward infected and uninfected hosts has not yet been considered in the implementation of control measures. This review will discuss the current evidence, which shows 1. Plasmodium can direct uninfected mosquito blood-seeking and feeding behavior via alteration of vertebrate-host odor profiles and production of phagostimulants and 2. Plasmodium also manipulates its vector during the sporogony cycle to increase transmission. Briefly, we also consider the next generation of methods for moving the empirical laboratory evidence to potential application in future integrated malaria control programs.

  • 2019. Muhammad Azeem (et al.). Industrial crops and products (Print) 140

    Aedes aegypti L. (Diptera: Culicidae) mosquito is an important vector of chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever. Plant based essential oils may serve as good alternatives to commercially available mosquito repellent, DEET. Steam distillation was used for the extraction of essential oils from fresh collected aerial parts of plants viz Chenopodium ambrosioides, Conyza sumatrensis, Erigeron canadensis, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Mentha spicata, Parthenium hysterophorus, and Tagetes minuta. The essential oils were tested for mosquito repellent activity against laboratory reared female Ae. aegypti by human bait technique. Identification of chemical constituents of essential oils was carried out by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The essential oil of M. spicata, E. canadensis, P. hysterophorus, C. sumatrensis, T. minuta, C. ambrosioides, and E. camaldulensis exhibited 100%, 80%, 63.9%, 51.4%, 50.2%, 39.7%, and 13.7% mosquito repellent activity respectively, at the tested dose of 30 mu g/cm(2). The most abundant constituents of M. spicata, E. canadensis, P. hysterophorus, C. sumatrensis and T. minuta essential oils were piperitenone oxide (47.1%), limonene (41.3%), germacrene D (36.6%), cis-lachnophyllum ester (33.3%) and dihydrotagetone (20.9%) respectively. M. spicata essential oil completely inhibited the attractiveness of human hands toward female mosquitoes for more than 45 min thus showed bioactivity comparable to that of commercially used mosquito repellent, DEET. This study suggests that the dilute solution of M. spicata essential oil could be used as potent mosquito repellent against Ae. aegypti alternative to commercially available synthetic mosquito repellents.

  • 2018. Lisa Fors (et al.). Ecology and Evolution 8 (6), 3219-3228

    Parasitoid fitness is influenced by the ability to overcome host defense strategies and by the ability of parasitoid females to select high-quality host individuals. When females are unable to differentiate among hosts, their fitness will decrease with an increasing abundance of resistant hosts. To understand the effect of mixed host populations on female fitness, it is therefore necessary to investigate the ability of female parasitoids to select among hosts. Here, we used behavioral assays, headspace volatile collection, and electrophysiology to study the ability of Asecodes parviclava to use olfactory cues to select between a susceptible host (Galerucella calmariensis) and a resistant host (Galerucella pusilla) from a distance. Our studies show that parasitoid females have the capacity to distinguish the two hosts and that the selection behavior is acquired through experiences during earlier life stages. Further, we identified two volatiles (-terpinolene and [E]--ocimene) which amounts differ between the two plant-herbivore systems and that caused behavioral and electrophysiological responses. The consequence of this selection behavior is that females have the capacity to avoid laying eggs in G.pusilla, where the egg mortality is higher due to much stronger immune responses toward A.parviclava than in larvae of G.calmariensis.

  • 2017. S. Noushin Emami (et al.). Science 355 (6329)

    Malaria infection renders humans more attractive to Anopheles gambiae sensu lato mosquitoes than uninfected people. The mechanisms remain unknown. We found that an isoprenoid precursor produced by Plasmodium falciparum, (E)-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-but-2-enyl pyrophosphate (HMBPP), affects A. gambiae s. l. blood meal seeking and feeding behaviors as well as susceptibility to infection. HMBPP acts indirectly by triggering human red blood cells to increase the release of CO2, aldehydes, and monoterpenes, which together enhance vector attraction and stimulate vector feeding. When offered in a blood meal, HMBPP modulates neural, antimalarial, and oogenic gene transcription without affecting mosquito survival or fecundity; in a P. falciparum-infected blood meal, sporogony is increased.

  • 2017. Thomas A. Verschut (et al.). Ecology and Evolution 7, 2079-2090

    Many insects face the challenge to select oviposition sites in heterogeneous environments where biotic and abiotic factors can change over time. One way to deal with this complexity is to use sensory experiences made during developmental stages to locate similar habitats or hosts in which larval development can be maximized. While various studies have investigated oviposition preference and larval performance relationships in insects, they have largely overlooked that sensory experiences made during the larval stage can affect such relationships. We addressed this issue by determining the role of natal experience on oviposition preference and larval performance relationships in a tritrophic system consisting of Galerucella sagittariae, feeding on the two host plants Potentilla palustris and Lysimachia thyrsiflora, and its larval parasitoid Asecodes lucens. We firstly determined whether differences in host-derived olfactory information could lead to divergent host selection, and secondly, whether host preference could result in higher larval performance based on the natal origin of the insects. Our results showed that the natal origin and the quality of the current host are both important aspects in oviposition preference and larval performance relationships. While we found a positive relationship between preference and performance of natal Lysimachia beetles, natal Potentilla larvae showed no such relationship and developed better on L. thyrsiflora. Additionally, the host selection by the parasitoid was mainly affected by the natal origin, while its performance was higher on Lysimachia larvae. With this study we showed that the relationship between oviposition preference and larval performance depends on the interplay between the natal origin of the female and the quality of the current host. However, without incorporating the full tritrophic context of these interactions, their implication in insect fitness and potential adaptation cannot be fully understood.

  • 2016. Laima Blazyte-Cereskiene (et al.). Annals of Forest Science 73 (2), 247-256

    Key message

    Spruce trees emit significant amounts of trans-4-thujanol, but the amount of this compound in bark decreases with tree age. Trans-4-thujanol acts as an efficient repellent for the bark beetle Ips typographus.


    The spruce bark beetle, Ips typographus, is an economically significant pest of Norway spruce (Picea abies) that preferentially infests and kills old trees.


    We looked for spruce volatiles that were perceivable by I. typographus and that differed as the host tree aged.


    Bark beetles were collected in the wild. Bark samples from spruce trees of different age were hydrodistilled. Gas chromatography–electroantennogram detection (GC-EAD) was used to identify which compounds induced beetle olfactory responses. These were identified by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Behavioural responses of bark beetles were tested using a Y-tube olfactometer.


    Several EAD peaks were recorded, of which trans-4-thujanol was consistently active and could be identified chemically unequivocally. The antennae of I. typographus females responded to a lower dosage of the compound than males, but both sexes were repelled by it. The bark of 10-year-old spruce trees contained 3 times more trans-4-thujanol than that of 35- 40-year-old trees, 27 times more than that of 70- to 80-year-old trees, and 200 times more than that of 120-year-old trees.


    Trans-4-thujanol is a bioactive compound in Norway spruce bark that varies in amount with tree age and affects spruce bark beetle behaviour under laboratory conditions. It is suggested that trans-4-thujanol might play a role in both spruce tree defence and tree choice by beetles.

  • 2019. Fawzeia Elmhalli (et al.). Experimental & applied acarology 77 (4), 585-599

    Essential oils extracted from the leaves of Libyan Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.), and Miswak (Salvadora persica L.) were evaluated for their acaricidal and repellent effects on Ixodes ricinus L. nymphs (Acari: Ixodidae) using a bioassay based on an open filter paper method'. Rosmarinus officinalis leaf essential oil diluted to 0.5 and 1 mu l/cm(2) in acetone exhibited, respectively, 20 and 100% tick mortality after about 5h of exposure. A total of 50 and 95% of I. ricinus nymphs were killed by direct contact with the oil when exposed to lethal concentrations (LC)of 0.7 mu l/cm(2) (LC50) and 0.95 mu l/cm(2) (LC95), respectively. The LC50 (0.5 mu l/cm(2)) was reached before the end of the first 24h of exposure time (ET), as tick mortality at 24h was 60%. Salvadora persica leaf essential oil at 1 mu l/cm(2) showed a significant repellency effect against I. ricinus nymphs at 1.5h ET. A 95% repellency was observed at a repellent concentration (RC95) of 1 mu l/cm(2) of S. persica, but no significant mortality was recorded at this dose of S. persica oil. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses showed that the main monoterpenes in both oils were 1,8-cineol, -pinene, and -pinene, although in markedly different proportions. These results suggest that essential oils have substantial potential as alternative approaches for I. ricinus tick control.

Show all publications by Raimondas Mozuraitis at Stockholm University

Last updated: May 28, 2020

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