1921
Volume 74, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645

Abstract

We examined the effects of land cover type on survivorship and productivity of in Kakamega in the western Kenyan highlands (elevation = 1,420–1,580 meters above sea level). Under natural conditions, sensu lato adults emerged only from farmland habitats, with an estimated productivity of 1.82 mosquitoes/meter /week, but not from forest and swamp habitats. To determine the effects of intraspecific competition and land cover types, semi-natural larval habitats were created within three land cover types (farmland, forest, and natural swamp), and three different densities of sensu stricto larvae were introduced to the larval habitats. The mosquito pupation rate in farmland habitats was significantly greater than in swamp and forest habitats, and larval-to-pupal development times were significantly shorter. At higher densities, the larvae responded to increased intraspecific competition by extending their development time and emerging as smaller adults, but initial larval density showed no significant effects on pupation rate. Land cover type may affect larval survivorship and adult productivity through its effects on water temperature and nutrients in the aquatic habitats, as shown by the significantly higher water temperature in farmland habitats, enhanced pupation rates and shortened development times from the addition of food to habitats, and a significant negative correlation of the occurrence of larvae with canopy cover and emergent plants in natural habitats. These results suggest that deforestation and cultivation of natural swamps in the western Kenyan highland create conditions favorable for the survival of larvae, and consequently increase the risks of malaria transmission to the human population.

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  • Received : 02 Aug 2005
  • Accepted : 01 Sep 2005

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