• An.arabiensis;
  • An.funestus;
  • An.gambiae;
  • Culicidae;
  • mark-release-recapture;
  • population size;
  • survival;
  • dispersal;
  • dispersion;
  • computer simulation;
  • Burkina Faso;
  • Sudan savanna vegetation belt;
  • West Africa

Abstract. To obtain information on adult populations of Afrotropical malaria vector mosquitoes, mark-release-recapture experiments were performed with Anopheles females collected from indoor resting-sites in a savanna area near Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, during September 1991 and 1992. Results were used to estimate the absolute population densities, daily survival rates, and dispersal parameters of malaria vectors in that area.

In 1991 a total of 7260 female Anopheles were marked and released, of which 106 were recaptured in the release village and 6 in the neighbouring villages, a total recapture rate of 1.5%. The following year 13, 854 female Anopheles were released and 116 recaptured in Goundri and 8 in the neighbouring villages, a total recapture rate of 0.9%. Recaptures were found in three of eight villages near Goundri. Nearly all of the recaptured mosquitoes were An.gambiae s.l. Of these, molecular determination revealed that An.gambiae s.s. and An.arabiensis were present in a ratio of -2:3.

Two simple random models of dispersal were simulated and the parameters of the models determined by searching for the least-squared fit between simulated and observed distributions. The mean distance moved by individual mosquitoes, estimated in this way, ranged 350–650 m day-1, depending on die model and the year considered. Population densities were estimated using the Lincoln Index, Fisher-Ford and Jolly's methods. The estimates of population size had high standard errors and were not particularly consistent. A ‘consensus’ value of 150,000–350,000 mosquitoes is believed to apply for ht An.gambiae s.l. female population. Survival was estimated to be 80–88% per day.