Seasonal mosquito larval abundance and composition in Kibwezi, lower eastern Kenya
BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: Changes in weather patterns especially rainfall affects the distribution and densities of mosquitoes. The objective of this study was to describe mosquito aquatic habitats, to determine larval abundance, species composition, and habitat types found in Kasayani village of Kibwezi division. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of mosquito larval habitats was conducted in Kasayani village in Kibwezi division to determine species composition, larval abundance, and habitat types found in this village. This survey was conducted during the rainy season in November and December 2006 and during the dry season in February and March 2007. Larvae were collected using the standard dipping technique and a total of 24 habitats were sampled. The primary habitats identified were water reservoir tanks, puddles, temporary pools, and tyre tracks. RESULTS: A total of 2660 mosquito larvae were collected of which 2140 (80.45%) were culicines, 503 (18.91%) were Anopheles and 17 (0.64%) were pupae. For culicines, 1787 (83.5%) were categorized as early instars and 353 (16.5%) were as late instars while in the Anopheles, 425 (84.49%) were classified as early instars and 78 (15.51%) were late instars. Morphological identification of the III and IV instar larvae by use of microscopy yielded 16.24% (n = 70) Anopheles gambiae complex, 1.16% (n=5) An. funestus, 0.70% (n=3) An. coustani, 42.46% (n=183) Culex quinquefasciatus, 6.26% (n = 27) Cx. duttoni, and 33.18% (n=143) Ae. aegypti. Puddles, tyre tracks and pools had highly turbid water while water reservoir tanks had clear water. Anopheles gambiae and Cx. quinquefasciatus were found in all habitat categories while Ae. aegypti were found only in water storage tanks. INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSION: The mosquito larval densities indicate that the inhabitants of this village are at risk of mosquito-borne diseases including malaria, which is one of the greatest causes of morbidity and mortality in this area. Furthermore, mosquito control measures targeting both the mosquito immatures and adults should be enhanced especially during the rainy season to ensure maximum protection of the inhabitants.