Shading by Napier Grass Reduces Malaria Vector Larvae in Natural Habitats in Western Kenya HighlandsReport as inadecuate

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, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 485–497

First Online: 03 July 2010Received: 05 January 2009Revised: 12 February 2010Accepted: 12 May 2010


Increased human population in the Western Kenya highlands has led to reclamation of natural swamps resulting in the creation of habitats suitable for the breeding of Anopheles gambiae, the major malaria vector in the region. Here we report on a study to restore the reclaimed swamp and reverse its suitability as a habitat for malaria vectors. Napier grass-shaded and non-shaded water channels in reclaimed sites in Western Kenya highlands were studied for the presence and density of mosquito larvae, mosquito species composition, and daily variation in water temperature. Shading was associated with 75.5% and 88.4% P < 0.0001 reduction in anopheline larvae densities and 78.1% and 88% P < 0.0001 reduction in Anopheles gambiae sensu lato s.l. densities in two sites, respectively. Shading was associated with a 5.7°C, 5.0°C, and 4.7°C, and 1.6°C, 3.9°C, and 2.8°C for maximum, minimum, and average temperatures, respectively reduction P < 0.0001 in water temperatures in the two locations, respectively. An. gambiae s.l. was the dominant species, constituting 83.2% and 73.1%, and 44.5% and 42.3%, of anophelines in non-shaded and shaded channels, respectively, in the two sites, respectively. An. gambiae sensu stricto s.s. constituted the majority 97.4% of An. gambiae s.l., while the rest 2.6% comprised of Anopheles arabiensis. Minimum water temperature decreased with increasing grass height P = 0.0039 and P = 0.0415 for Lunyerere and Emutete sites, respectively. The results demonstrate how simple environmental strategies can have a strong impact on vector densities.

KeywordsAnopheles gambiae s.l. mosquito breeding Napier grass water channels larval density water temperature  Download fulltext PDF

Author: Peter M. Wamae - Andrew K. Githeko - Diana M. Menya - Willem Takken


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