Larval habitats of the Anopheles farauti and Anopheles lungae complexes in the Solomon Islands

Russell, Tanya L., Burkot, Thomas R., Bugoro, Hugo, Apairamo, Allan, Beebe, Nigel W., Chow, Weng K., Cooper, Robert D., Collins, Frank H., and Lobo, Neil F. (2016) Larval habitats of the Anopheles farauti and Anopheles lungae complexes in the Solomon Islands. Malaria Journal, 15. 164. pp. 1-9.

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Background: There is an urgent need for vector control tools to supplement long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and indoor residual spraying; particularly in the Solomon Islands where the primary vector, Anopheles farauti, is highly anthropophagic and feeds mainly outdoors and early in the evening. Currently, the only supplementary tool recommended by the World Health Organization is larval source management (LSM). The feasibility and potential effectiveness of LSM requires information on the distribution of anophelines, the productivity of larval habitats and the potential impacts of larval control on adult fitness.

Methods: The distribution of anophelines in Central and Western Provinces in the Solomon Islands was mapped from cross-sectional larval habitat surveys. The composition and micro-distribution of larval instars within a large permanent river-mouth lagoon was examined with a longitudinal survey. Density-dependent regulation of An. farauti larvae was investigated by longitudinally following the development and survival of different densities of first instars in floating cages in a river-mouth lagoon.

Results: Five anopheline species were molecularly identified from a range of fresh and brackish water habitats: An. farauti s.s., An. hinesorum, An. lungae, An. nataliae and An. solomonis. The most common habitats used by the primary malaria vector, An. farauti, were coastal lagoons and swamps. In the detailed study of lagoon micro-productivity, An. farauti was non-uniformly distributed with highest densities found at collections sites most proximal and distal to the mouth of the lagoon. The survival of An. farauti larvae was more than twofold lower when larvae were held at the highest experimental density (1 larva per 3.8 cm²) when compared with the lowest density (1 larva per 38 cm²).

Conclusions: The only documented major malaria vector collected in larval surveys in both Central and Western Provinces was An. farauti. Lagoons and swamps, the most common, largest and (potentially) most productive larval sites of this malaria vector, were "few, fixed and findable" and theoretically, therefore, amenable to successful LSM. However, the immense scale and complexity of these ecosystems in which An. farauti larvae are found raises questions regarding the ability to effectively control the larvae, as incomplete larviciding could trigger density dependent effects resulting in increased larval survivorship. While LSM has the potential to significantly contribute to malaria control of this early and outdoor biting vector, more information on the distribution of larvae within these extensive habitats is required to maximize the effectiveness of LSM.

Item ID: 43473
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1475-2875
Keywords: Solomon Islands, malaria, Anopheles farauti, species distribution, density dependent development
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© 2016 Russell et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Funders: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health for the International Center of Excellence in Malaria Research (NIH-ICEMR) Southwest Pacific
Projects and Grants: BMGF Grant No. 45114, NIAID U19AI08986
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2016 02:25
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310913 Invertebrate biology @ 50%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3207 Medical microbiology > 320704 Medical parasitology @ 25%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420315 One health @ 25%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 100%
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