Diversity of Riceland Mosquitoes and Factors Affecting Their Occurrence and Distribution in Mwea, Kenya

  • Muturi E
  • Shililu J
  • Jacob B
 et al. 
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Knowledge of mosquito species diversity, occurrence, and distribution is an essential component of vector ecology and a guiding principle to formulation and implementation of integrated vector management programs. A 12-month entomological survey was conducted to determine the diversity of riceland mosquitoes and factors affecting their occurrence and distribution at 3 sites targeted for malaria vector control in Mwea, Kenya. Adult mosquitoes were sampled indoors by pyrethrum spray catch and outdoors by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention light traps. Mosquitoes were then morphologically identified to species using taxonomic keys. The characteristics of houses sampled for indoor resting mosquitoes, including number of people sleeping in each house the night preceding collection, presence of bed nets, location of the house, size of eaves, wall type, presence of cattle and distance of the house to the cowshed, and proximity to larval habitats, were recorded. Of the 191,378 mosquitoes collected, 95% were identified morphologically to species and comprised 25 species from 5 genera. Common species included Anopheles arabiensis (53.5%), Culex quinquefasciatus (35.5%), An. pharoensis (4.7%), An. coustani (2.5%), and An. funestus (1.6%). Shannon's species diversity and evenness indices did not differ significantly among the 3 study sites. There was a marked house-to-house variation in the average number of mosquitoes captured. The number of people sleeping in the house the night preceding collection, size of eaves, distance to the cowshed, and the nearest larval habitat were significant predictors of occurrence of either or both An. arabiensis and Cx. quinquefasciatus. The peak abundance of An. arabiensis coincided with land preparation and the first few weeks after transplanting of rice seedlings, and that of Cx. quinquefasciatus coincided with land preparation, late stage of rice development, and short rains. After transplanting of rice seedlings, the populations of Cx. quinquefasciatus were collected more outdoors than indoors, suggesting a shift from endophily to exophily. These results demonstrate that irrigated rice cultivation has a strong impact on mosquito species occurrence, distribution, abundance, and behavior, and that certain house characteristics increase the degree of human-vector contact.

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  • Ephantus J. Muturi

  • Josephat I. Shililu

  • Benjamin G. Jacob

  • Joseph M. Mwangangi

  • Charles M. Mbogo

  • John I. Githure

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