Mosquito communities and disease risk influenced by land use change and seasonality in the Australian tropics

Meyer Steiger, Dagmar B., Ritchie, Scott A., and Laurance, Susan G.W. (2016) Mosquito communities and disease risk influenced by land use change and seasonality in the Australian tropics. Parasites & Vectors, 9. pp. 387-400.

PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB) | Preview
View at Publisher Website:


Background: Anthropogenic land use changes have contributed considerably to the rise of emerging and re-emerging mosquito-borne diseases. These diseases appear to be increasing as a result of the novel juxtapositions of habitats and species that can result in new interchanges of vectors, diseases and hosts. We studied whether the mosquito community structure varied between habitats and seasons and whether known disease vectors displayed habitat preferences in tropical Australia.

Methods: Using CDC model 512 traps, adult mosquitoes were sampled across an anthropogenic disturbance gradient of grassland, rainforest edge and rainforest interior habitats, in both the wet and dry seasons. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling (NMS) ordinations were applied to examine major gradients in the composition of mosquito and vector communities.

Results: We captured ~13,000 mosquitoes from 288 trap nights across four study sites. A community analysis identified 29 species from 7 genera. Even though mosquito abundance and richness were similar between the three habitats, the community composition varied significantly in response to habitat type. The mosquito community in rainforest interiors was distinctly different to the community in grasslands, whereas forest edges acted as an ecotone with shared communities from both forest interiors and grasslands. We found two community patterns that will influence disease risk at out study sites, first, that disease vectoring mosquito species occurred all year round. Secondly, that anthropogenic grasslands adjacent to rainforests may increase the probability of novel disease transmission through changes to the vector community on rainforest edges, as most disease transmitting species predominantly occurred in grasslands.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that the strong influence of anthropogenic land use change on mosquito communities could have potential implications for pathogen transmission to humans and wildlife.

Item ID: 44659
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1756-3305
Keywords: edge effects, deforestation, land use change, mosquito community, rainforest disturbance
Additional Information:

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: Australian Research Council (ARC), NERP Tropical Ecosystems Hub
Projects and Grants: ARC FT130101319
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2016 23:06
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410206 Landscape ecology @ 60%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420315 One health @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960411 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Urban and Industrial Environments @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920405 Environmental Health @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 1181
Last 12 Months: 7
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page