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Does moonlight influence the biting behaviour of Anopheles funestus?

Authors

  • A. KAMPANGO,

    Corresponding author
    1. MOZDAN (Mozambican–Danish Rural Malaria) Project, Morrumbene, Mozambique
      A. Kampango, MOZDAN Project, PO Box 8, Morrumbene, Inhambane Province, Mozambique. Tel.: +258 8200 87990; E-mail: akampango@gmail.com
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  • N. CUAMBA,

    1. Departamento de Parasitologia do Sangue, Instituto Nacional de Saude, Ministerio da Saude, Maputo, Mozambique
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  • J. D. CHARLWOOD

    1. MOZDAN (Mozambican–Danish Rural Malaria) Project, Morrumbene, Mozambique
    2. DBL Centre for Health, Research and Development, University of Copenhagen, Fredriksberg, Denmark
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A. Kampango, MOZDAN Project, PO Box 8, Morrumbene, Inhambane Province, Mozambique. Tel.: +258 8200 87990; E-mail: akampango@gmail.com

Abstract

The possible effect of moonlight on the biting behaviour of mosquitoes in southern Mozambique, in particular that of Anopheles funestus (Diptera: Culicidae), a primary vector of malaria, was investigated by comparing catches indoors and outdoors using CDC light traps and ‘Furvela’ tent traps, respectively, for 35 consecutive nights, from 9 September to 15 October 2008. Collections were separated into three 4-hourly samples each night. A total of 17 591 mosquitoes belonging to nine species were collected, 6747 in light traps and 10 844 in tent traps. Anopheles funestus (n = 7634) and Mansonia africana (n = 4859) were the most abundant species. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity were the two environmental variables associated with changes in relative abundance of mosquitoes. Most An. funestus were collected indoors, with the majority collected in the first 4 h of the night. This was most evident on nights when moonlight was present in the early part of the night. A total of 3488 An. funestus were dissected for gonotrophic age determination. Parous rates did not change with lunar phase, but estimated oviposition cycle length was significantly shorter on nights when moonlight was present at the time of oviposition. Moonlight at dusk did not, however, affect the proportion of newly emerged insects with mating plugs collected. Outdoor transmission of malaria, especially on moonlit nights, remains a problem for control programmes.

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