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Early biting rhythm in the afro-tropical vector of malaria, Anopheles arabiensis, and challenges for its control in Ethiopia


Eline Boelee, International Water Management Institute, PO Box 2075, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Tel.: +94 11 288 0000; Fax: +94 11 278 6854; E-mail:


The biting cycle of the malaria vector Anopheles arabiensis Patton (Diptera: Culicidae) was assessed by hourly light trap collections in three villages in Tigray, northern Ethiopia. Hourly catches were conducted in two houses in each village, for four consecutive nights. Light traps were set from 18.00 hours to 07.00 hours in houses in which people slept under untreated bednets. Anopheles arabiensis showed early biting activities, which peaked between 19.00 hours and 20.00 hours in the three villages; over 70% of biting activity occurred before 22.00 hours, when people typically retire to bed. This early biting activity may have a negative impact on the efficiency of bednets to control malaria.