Ecology of Insect Vector Populations

by R. C. Muirhead-Thomson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. vii + 174 pages. Academic Press, Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London WIX 6BA, England. 1968. $9.50

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A knowledge of the frequency of contact between infective vectors and man is crucial to an understanding of the transmission of arthropod-borne disease and to evaluating vector control. Measuring this contact depends upon the synthesis of various estimates of abundance coupled with knowledge of the behavior of adult vectors. In this valuable little book R. C. Muirhead-Thomson has brought together much of the relevant recent literature bearing on techniques for sampling vector populations.

The book emphasizes that the choice of sampling devices and the manner in which they are employed profoundly influence the findings and their interpretation. For example, the “fly round” selects many more male than female tsetse, the presence of certain anophelines may go unsuspected when collections are timed incorrectly, and certain culicines that are readily trapped in one region may not enter identical traps in other regions. These and a host of other examples demonstrate the hazards inherent in various sampling techniques.