Spatiotemporal dynamics of immature culicines (subfamily Culicinae) and their larval habitats in Mwea Rice Scheme, Kenya
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An ecological study was conducted at three study sites in Mwea Rice Scheme, Kenya to identify the diverse aquatic habitats in which culicine mosquitoes thrived and to explore the best strategies for mosquito control in the area. During the 11-month study period, ten habitat categories and 11 culicine species mainly dominated by Culex quinquefasciatus (72.0%) and Culex annulioris (17.9%) were identified from pupae and late instars larval samples. Two of the 11 culicine species, Ficalbia (Mimomyia) plumosa and Uranotaenia spp., have not been reported previously in the study area. Rurumi had more habitat types than either of the other study sites but the least number of mosquito species. In contrast, Karima had the least number of habitat types but significantly higher density of early instars than the other study sites. The relative abundance of late instars and pupae did not vary significantly among study sites. The contribution of different habitat types to larval production varied markedly between seasons and among study sites. Paddies and canals were perennial contributors of culicine mosquito larvae while the other habitat types were important mainly during the wet season. Some habitat types such as ditches, seeps, marshes, and fishpond were absent in some study sites but of great significance in other study sites. C. quinquefasciatus was positively associated with turbidity at all study sites and also negatively associated with emergent vegetation and distance to the nearest homestead in Karima, emergent vegetation in Kiuria, and other aquatic invertebrates in Rurumi. C. annulioris was positively associated with emergent vegetation at all study sites and also with depth in Kiuria. These findings indicate that besides rice fields and associated habitats, a diversity of other aquatic habitats contribute to culicine adult mosquito production in the study area and that environmental factors that determine the occurrence of a particular mosquito species may vary significantly even among areas of similar land use. This information is critical when designing and implementing mosquito larval control programs.
KeywordsHabitat Type West Nile Virus Rice Field Aquatic Habitat Mosquito Species
We are grateful to Christian Borgemeister, Director General, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, for his strong support in this project. We acknowledge the technical support provided by Simon Muriu, Enock Mpanga, James Wauna, Peter Barasa, Peter M. Mutiga, William Waweru, Nelson Maingi, Martin Njigoya, Paul K. Mwangi, Christine W. Maina, Gladys Karimi, Irene Kamau, Julius Murimi, Nicholus Gachoki, Charles Kiura, and Naftaly Gichuki. This research was supported by NIH/NIAID grant # U01A154889 (Robert Novak).
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