Smallest Anopheles farauti occur during the peak transmission season in the Solomon Islands

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Abstract

Background: Malaria transmission varies in intensity amongst Solomon Island villages where Anopheles farauti is the only vector. This variation in transmission intensity might be explained by density-dependent processes during An. farauti larval development, as density dependence can impact adult size with associated fitness costs and daily survivorship. Methods: Adult anophelines were sampled from six villages in Western and Central Provinces, Solomon Islands between March 2014 and February 2017. The size of females was estimated by measuring wing lengths, and then analysed for associations with biting densities and rainfall. Results: In the Solomon Islands, three anopheline species, An. farauti, Anopheles hinesorum and Anopheles lungae, differed in size. The primary malaria vector, An. farauti, varied significantly in size among villages. Greater rainfall was directly associated with higher densities of An. farauti biting rates, but inversely associated with body size with the smallest mean sized mosquitoes present during the peak transmission period. A measurable association between body size and survivorship was not found. Conclusions: Density dependent effects are likely impacting the size of adult An. farauti emerging from a range of larval habitats. The data suggest that rainfall increases An. farauti numbers and that these more abundant mosquitoes are significantly smaller in size, but without any reduced survivorship being associated with smaller size. The higher malaria transmission rate in a high malaria focus village appears to be determined more by vector numbers than size or survivorship of the vectors.

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McLaughlin, K., Russell, T. L., Apairamo, A., Bugoro, H., Oscar, J., Cooper, R. D., … Burkot, T. R. (2019). Smallest Anopheles farauti occur during the peak transmission season in the Solomon Islands. Malaria Journal, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12936-019-2847-2

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