Bionomics and ecology of Anopheles merus along the East and Southern Africa coast
Bartilol B, Omedo I, Mbogo C, Mwangangi J, Rono MK
Parasit Vectors. 2021;14
Malaria transmission persists despite the scale-up of interventions such as long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS). Understanding the entomological drivers of transmission is key for the design of effective and sustainable tools to address the challenge. Recent research findings indicate a shift in vector populations from the notorious Anopheles gambiae (s.s.) as a dominant vector to other species as one of the factors contributing to the persistence of malaria transmission. However, there are gaps in the literature regarding the minor vector species which are increasingly taking a lead role in malaria transmission. Currently, minor malaria vectors have behavioural plasticity, which allows their evasion of vector control tools currently in use. To address this, we have reviewed the role of Anopheles merus, a saltwater mosquito species that is becoming an important vector of malaria transmission along the East and Southern African coast. We performed a literature review from PubMed and Google Scholar and reviewed over 50 publications relating to An. merus's bionomics, taxonomy, spatial-temporal distribution and role in malaria transmission. We found that An. merus is an important vector of malaria and that it contributes to residual malaria transmission because of its exophilic tendencies, insecticide resistance and densities that peak during the dry seasons as the freshwater mosquitoes decline. Spatial and temporal studies have also shown that this species has increased its geographical range, densities and vectorial capacity over time. In this review, we highlight the resting behaviour and breeding habitats of this mosquito, which could be targeted for surveillance studies and control interventions.