Factors influencing the abundance of Japanese encephalitis vectors in ricefields in India – I. Abiotic


I. P. Sunish, Centre for Research In Medical Entomology, No. 4 Sarojini Street, Chinna Chokkikulam, Madurai 625 002, Tamil Nadu State, India. E-mail: crmeicmr@satyam.net.in


Abstract. Mosquitoes of the Culex vishnui subgroup (Diptera: Culicidae) are the most important vectors of Japanese encephalitis (JE) and ricefields are their most productive breeding sites in south India, where predominant species of this subgroup are Culex tritaeniorhynchus Giles, Cx. pseudovishnui Colless and Cx. vishnui Theobald sensu stricto. The relationship of 13 abiotic variables with the abundance of Cx. vishnui subgroup immatures was investigated in transplanted rice fields for 3 years (1991–94) covering three different crop seasons. The results from the multiple regression model suggested paddy height (– ve), water temperature (+ ve), dissolved oxygen (– ve), ammonia nitrogen (– ve) and nitrate nitrogen (+ ve) to be the best predictor variables associated with the immature abundance, nearly always consistent in their effects within and between seasons. Application of synthetic nitrogenous fertilizers to the rice fields was followed by a rise in concentration of ammonia nitrogen and a subsequent increase in nitrate nitrogen level in the rice field water, during which an increase in the density of larval instars was observed.