Emergence of a new neotropical malaria vector facilitated by human migration and changes in land use.

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  • 1 Department of Biology, University of Vermont, Burlington 05405-0086, USA.

In a region of northeastern Amazonia, we find a species previously of minor importance, Anopheles marajoara, to be the principal malaria vector. In a total of five collections during 1996-97 in three replicated sites near the city of Macapá, Amapá state, this species occurs in much greater abundance compared with the presumed vector Anopheles darlingi. Also, a significantly higher proportion of An. marajoara is infected with malaria parasites, determined by the ELISA technique. This appears to be the result of increased abundance of An. marajoara due to alterations in land use, invasion of its primary breeding sites by human immigrants, and its anthropophilic behavior. This discovery highlights one of the challenges of Neotropical malaria control, namely that the targeting of specific vectors may be complicated by a changing mosaic of different locally important vectors and their interactions with human populations.