Ecologic observations on anopheline vectors of malaria in the Brazilian Amazon.

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  • 1 Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.

Human intervention in the Brazilian Amazon region promotes contacts between humans and vectors that may favor the propagation of anopheline mosquitoes and the spread of malaria in the absence of planning and infrastructure to control this disease. Vector ecology studies were carried out to determine the risk areas. These data should help in designing appropriate malaria control measures. Data from 14 different regions are reported. Vectors are able to adapt to different environments, which made it necessary to study each area. The parameters studied were Anopheles breeding sites, species distribution, incidence, feeding preferences, hours of maximum activity of adult mosquitoes, seasonality, resting places, and the presence of Plasmodium. Species complexes were also studied. Anopheles darlingi may be responsible for maintaining malaria in human populations in this region. A reduction in the population density of A. darlingi in a particular geographic area can sometimes cause the disappearance of malaria. This species feeds at night but has a peak of activity at the beginning of the evening and another at dawn. Other species are mainly crepuscular and all anophelines demonstrated pronounced exophilia. The timing of feeding activities was found to vary in areas altered by human intervention and also depended on the time of the year and climatic conditions. The larvae were more abundant in the rivers with a less acidic pH and rural areas showed the highest larval index.