In an era of big data, the availability of satellite-derived global climate, terrain, and land cover imagery presents an opportunity for modeling the suitability of malaria disease vectors at fine spatial resolutions, across temporal scales, and over vast geographic extents. Leveraging cloud-based geospatial analytical tools, we present an environmental suitability model that considers water resources, flow accumulation areas, precipitation, temperature, vegetation, and land cover. In contrast to predictive models generated using spatially and temporally discontinuous mosquito presence information, this model provides continuous fine-spatial resolution information on the biophysical drivers of suitability.
Accumulating behavioural data indicate that aggregation pheromones may mediate the formation and maintenance of mosquito swarms. However, chemical cues possibly luring mosquitoes to swarms have not been adequately investigated, and the likely molecular incitants of these complex reproductive behaviours remain unknown. Here we show that males of the important malaria vector species Anopheles arabiensis and An. gambiae produce and release aggregation pheromones that attract individuals to the swarm and enhance mating success.
In the West African Sahel, mosquito reproduction is halted during the 5–7 month-long dry season, due to the absence of surface waters required for larval development. However, recent studies have suggested that both Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto (s.s.) and Anopheles arabiensis repopulate this region via migration from distant locations where larval sites are perennial. Anopheles coluzzii engages in more regional migration, presumably within the Sahel, following shifting resources correlating with the ever-changing patterns of Sahelian rainfall. Understanding mosquito migration is key to controlling malaria—a disease that continues to claim more than 400,000 lives annually, especially those of African children. Using tethered flight data of wild mosquitoes, the distribution of flight parameters were evaluated as indicators of long-range migrants versus appetitive flyers, and the species specific seasonal differences and gonotrophic states compared between two flight activity modalities. Morphometrical differences were evaluated in the wings of mosquitoes exhibiting high flight activity (HFA) vs. low flight activity (LFA).
There is growing interest in the potential to modify houses to target mosquitoes with insecticides or repellents as they search for human hosts. One version of this ‘Lethal House Lure’ approach is the In2Care® EaveTube, which consists of a section of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe fitted into a closed eave, with an insert comprising electrostatic netting treated with insecticide powder placed inside the tube. Preliminary evidence suggests that when combined with screening of doors and windows, there is a reduction in entry of mosquitoes and an increase in mortality. However, the rate of overnight mortality remains unclear. The current study used a field enclosure built around experimental huts to investigate the mortality of cohorts of mosquitoes over multiple nights.
This study improves our understanding of the molecular evolution of chemoreceptors in closely related anophelines and suggests possible mechanisms that underlie the behavioral distinctions in host seeking that, in part, account for the differential vectorial capacity of these mosquitoes.