Larval ecology of Anophelescoluzzii in Cape Coast, Ghana: water quality, nature of habitat and implication for larval controlReport as inadecuate

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Malaria Journal

, 14:447

First Online: 11 November 2015Received: 04 June 2015Accepted: 04 November 2015


BackgroundThere is a growing interest in larval control intervention to supplement existing malaria control strategies, particularly in urban areas. However, effective implementation requires a good understanding of habitat ecology of Anopheles mosquitoes. Clean water bodies have long been reported by several studies as a preferred breeding habitat for Anopheles gambiae. Other studies have also reported the breeding of An. gambiae in polluted water bodies. However, the term clean or polluted is mostly based on visual examination and is not well defined. This study was conducted with the aim of assessing water quality in Anopheles breeding habitats and the practicability of larval control in Cape Coast, Ghana.

MethodsA larval survey was conducted for 15 months in Cape Coast. In individual breeding habitats, habitat characteristics, physicochemical parameters and bacterial fauna were measured in both Anopheles positive breeding APL habitats and habitats colonized by only Culex species. The sibling species of An. gambiae were identified using PCR assay.

ResultsAnopheles coluzzii dominated in almost all the APL habitats found in this study. The habitats had high levels of salinity and ammonium ions. However, ammonium ions were significantly higher p = 0.001 in habitats colonized by only Culex larvae compared to APL habitats. About 47 % of the habitats that were colonized by only Culex larvae had no measurable dissolved oxygen while An. coluzzii was absent in such habitats. High concentration of faecal bacteria confirmed faecal contamination in both groups of breeding habitats.

ConclusionsFrom the results, it was evident that larval stages of An. coluzzii have tolerance to high levels of salinity and organic pollution in breeding habitats. However, its level of tolerance to organic pollution is probably lower than Culex larvae. The nature of breeding habitats found in the city demonstrates the opportunistic behaviour of An. coluzzii and how its breeding requirements are so intimately intertwined with the haphazard and uncontrolled human activities in the urban area. Considering the nature of APL habitats, larval control intervention could greatly reduce Anopheles population. However, improving basic hygiene and sanitation in the city could even make larval control intervention more practical and cost effective.

KeywordsAnopheles Habitat ecology Culex Larval control Pollution Urbanization  Download fulltext PDF

Author: Andreas A. Kudom



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