Givemore Munhenga 1 , 2 , Basil D Brooke 1 , 2 , Belinda Spillings 1 , 2 , Leyya Essop 1 , 2 , Richard H Hunt 1 , 2 , Stephen Midzi 3 , Danny Govender 4 , 5 , Leo Braack 6 , Lizette L Koekemoer , 1 , 2
24 January 2014
Knowledge of the ecology and behaviour of a target species is a prerequisite for the successful development of any vector control strategy. Before the implementation of any strategy it is essential to have comprehensive information on the bionomics of species in the targeted area. The aims of this study were to conduct regular entomological surveillance and to determine the relative abundance of anopheline species in the northern Kruger National Park. In addition to this, the impact of weather conditions on an Anopheles arabiensis population were evaluated and a range of mosquito collection methods were assessed.
A survey of Anopheles species was made between July 2010 and December 2012. Mosquitoes were collected from five sites in the northern Kruger National Park, using carbon dioxide-baited traps, human landing and larval collections. Specimens were identified morphologically and polymerase chain reaction assays were subsequently used where appropriate.
A total of 3,311 specimens belonging to nine different taxa was collected. Species collected were: Anopheles arabiensis (n = 1,352), Anopheles quadriannulatus (n = 870), Anopheles coustani (n = 395), Anopheles merus (n = 349), Anopheles pretoriensis (n = 35), Anopheles maculipalpis (n = 28), Anopheles rivulorum (n = 19), Anopheles squamosus (n = 3) and Anopheles rufipes (n = 2). Members of the Anopheles gambiae species complex were the most abundant and widely distributed, occurring across all collection sites. The highest number of mosquitoes was collected using CO 2 baited net traps (58.2%) followed by human landing catches (24.8%). Larval collections (17%) provided an additional method to increase sample size. Mosquito sampling productivity was influenced by prevailing weather conditions and overall population densities fluctuated with seasons.
Several anopheline species occur in the northern Kruger National Park and their densities fluctuate between seasons. Species abundance and relative proportions within the An. gambiae complex varied between collection methods. There is a perennial presence of an isolated population of An. arabiensis at the Malahlapanga site which declined in density during the dry winter months, making this site suitable for a small pilot study site for Sterile Insect Technique as a malaria vector control strategy.