Mark–release–recapture experiments with Anopheles gambiae s.l. were performed during the wet seasons of 1993 and 1994 in Banambani, Mali. All recaptured mosquitoes were identified to species by PCR analysis and, when possible, by chromosomal analysis to chromosomal form. Two species of the An. gambiae complex were present: An. gambiae s.s. and An. arabiensis; their ratio differed greatly from one year to the next. Three chromosomal forms of An. gambiae s.s. were found – Bamako, Savanna and Mopti. The drier 1993 was characterized by a high frequency of An. arabiensis and of the Mopti chromosomal forms of An. gambiae s.s. These trends were consistent with large-scale geographical patterns of abundance along a precipitation gradient. We observed no difference in dispersal between the two species, nor among the chromosomal forms of An. gambiae s.s. Therefore, in this situation at least, it is reasonable to group such data on the An. gambiae complex as a whole for analysis. Population size of An. gambiae s.l. females in the village was estimated to be 9000–11 000 in 1993 and 28 000 in 1994. The corresponding numbers were somewhat higher when independently-derived values of daily survival were used. These were consistent with estimates of effective population size obtained from patterns of gene frequency change.