Mapping the ranges and relative abundance of the two principal African malaria vectors, Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto and An. arabiensis, using climate data

S W Lindsay, L Parson, C J Thomas

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171 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

Members of the Anopheles gambiae complex are major malaria vectors in Africa. We tested the hypothesis that the range and relative abundance of the two major vectors in the complex, An. gambiae sensu stricto and An. ambiensis, could be defined by climate. Climate was characterised at mosquito survey sites by extracting data for each location from climate surfaces using a Geographical Information System. Annual precipitation, together with annual and wet season temperature, defined the ranges of both vectors and were used to map suitable climate zones. Using data from West Africa, we found that where the species were sympatric, An. gambiae s.s. predominated in saturated environments, and An. ambiensis was more common in sites subject to desiccation (r 2 = 0.875, p < 0.001). We used the nonlinear equation that best described this relationship to map habitat suitability across Africa. This simple model predicted accurately the relative abundance of both vectors in Tanzania (r 2 = 0.745, p = 0.002), where species composition is highly variable. The combined maps of species' range and relative abundance showed very good agreement with published maps. This technique represents a new approach to mapping the distribution of malaria vectors over large areas and may facilitate species-specific vector control activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)847-854
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume265
Issue number1399
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 May 1998

Keywords

  • Africa
  • Anopheles arabiensis
  • Anopheles gambiae
  • Climate surfaces
  • Geographical information systems
  • Malaria

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