Spatial distribution and habitat characterisation of Anopheles larvae along the Kenyan coast

Joseph M. Mwangangi, Charles M. Mbogo, Ephantus J. Muturi, Joseph G. Nzovu, John I. Githure, Guiyun Yan, Noboru Minakawa, Robert Novak, John C. Beier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & objectives: A study was conducted to characterise larval habitats and to determine spatial heterogeneity of the Anopheles mosquito larvae. The study was conducted from May to June 1999 in nine villages along the Kenyan coast. Methods: Aquatic habitats were sampled by use of standard dipping technique. The habitats were characterised based on size, pH, distance to the nearest house, coverage of canopy, surface debris, algae and emergent plants, turbidity, substrate, and habitat type. Results: A total of 110 aquatic habitats like stream pools (n = 10); puddles (n = 65); tire tracks (n = 5); ponds (n = 5) and swamps (n = 25) were sampled in nine villages located in three districts of the Kenyan coast. A total of 7,263 Anopheles mosquito larvae were collected, 63.9% were early instars and 36.1% were late instars. Morphological identification of the III and IV instar larvae by use of microscopy yielded 90.66% (n = 2,377) Anopheles gambiae Complex, 0.88% (n = 23) An. funestus, An. coustani 7.63% (n = 200), An. rivulorum 0.42% (n = 11), An. pharoensis 0.19% (n = 5), An. swahilicus 0.08% (n = 2), An. wilsoni 0.04% (n = 1) and 0.11% (n = 3) were unidentified. A subset of the An. gambiae Complex larvae identified morphologically, was further analysed using rDNA-PCR technique resulting in 68.22% (n = 1,290) An. gambiae s.s., 7.93% (n = 150) An. arabiensis and 23.85% (n = 451) An. merus. Multiple logistic regression model showed that emergent plants (p = 0.019), and floating debris (p = 0.038) were the best predictors of An. gambiae larval abundance in these habitats. Interpretation & conclusion: Habitat type, floating debris and emergent plants were found to be the key factors determining the presence of Anopheles larvae in the habitats. For effective larval control, the type of habitat should be considered and most productive habitat type be given a priority in the mosquito abatement programme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Vector Borne Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Anopheles gambiae
  • Habitat characterisation
  • Spatial heterogeneity
  • rDNA-PCR technique

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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