Ecology and larval population dynamics of the primary malaria vector Nyssorhynchus darlingi in a high transmission setting dominated by fish farming in western Amazonian Brazil


Vale do Rio Juruá in western Acre, Brazil, is a persistent malaria transmission hotspot partly due to fish farming development that was encouraged to improve local standards of living. Fish ponds can be productive breeding sites for Amazonian malaria vector species, including Nyssorhynchus darlingi, which, combined with high human density and mobility, add to the local malaria burden.This study reports entomological profile of immature and adult Ny. darlingi at three sites in Mâncio Lima, Acre, during the rainy and dry season (February to September, 2017). From 63 fishponds, 10,859 larvae were collected, including 5,512 first-instar Anophelinae larvae and 4,927 second, third and fourth-instars, of which 8.5% (n = 420) were Ny. darlingi. This species was most abundant in not-abandoned fishponds and in the presence of emerging aquatic vegetation. Seasonal analysis of immatures in urban landscapes found no significant difference in the numbers of Ny. darlingi, corresponding to equivalent population density during the rainy to dry transition period. However, in the rural landscape, significantly higher numbers of Ny. darlingi larvae were collected in August (IRR = 5.80, p = 0.037) and September (IRR = 6.62, p = 0.023) (dry season), compared to February (rainy season), suggesting important role of fishponds for vector population maintenance during the seasonal transition in this landscape type. Adult sampling detected mainly Ny. darlingi (~93%), with similar outdoor feeding behavior, but different abundance according to landscape profile: urban site 1 showed higher peaks of human biting rate in May (46 bites/person/hour), than February (4) and September (15), while rural site 3 shows similar HBR during the same sampling period (22, 24 and 21, respectively). This study contributes to a better understanding of the larvae biology of the main malaria vector in the Vale do Rio Juruá region and, ultimately will support vector control efforts.

Gabriel Carrasco-Escobar
Gabriel Carrasco-Escobar
Assistant Professor

My research interests include infectious diseases epidemiology, causal inference, global health, Climate Change, Data Science, Urban Health, and Geospatial modeling & viz.