was the most collected species in both areas and particularly at Marais du Vigueirat where thousands of specimens were captured per night during the peak. Rice fields constitute prolific larval sites for this species and large populations are frequently associated with some rice growing areas as described in Turkey or Greece [20
]. Although it was much less abundant than An. hyrcanus
, An. melanoon
was predominant within the Maculipennis complex in the two study areas. Rioux noticed this abundance by the years 1950: An. melanoon
was very abundant in the coastal area and paddies constituted its favourite breeding site [21
]. Salières confirmed these observations 20 years later [15
]. Data presented here show that An. melanoon
abundance has not diminished in the Camargue from the years 1950. Anopheles atroparvus
was very rare in 2005, although it had been described as the major vector in the past. It was very abundant and present in several environmental patterns of South East France by the 1940's and 1950's [9
], whereas Salières captured it only five times during a 4-year survey 20 years later [15
]. Observations reported here confirmed that this species remained very rare.
Breeding sites of An. algeriensis
are constituted by resurgence of water tables [21
]. This kind of biotope is located on the east side of the Marais du Vigueirat where the "Crau" water table appears. This is why this species was captured only at Marais du Vigueirat and particularly in spring. The absence of An. algeriensis
in summer could be explained by resurgences being dry during summer due to drought in the South of France.
Anopheles maculipennis s.s
. was reported several times in France, but it is associated with fresh water [22
]. It was reported only twice near the south coast of France and in fresh water biotopes [15
]. Moreover, 16 An. maculipennis
complex specimens were collected in a horse bait trap in 2004 at Lunel-Viel [23
]. Six out of 11 specimens processed by PCR were identified as An. maculipennis s.s
. Lunel-Viel is located at the outer limits of the Camargue, in a dry area without any marshes, paddies or pools submitted to salt water table resurgence. The absence of An. maculipennis s.s
. in results presented here is in accordance to these environmental differences.
Anopheles claviger s.s
., Anopheles petragnani
and Anopheles plumbeus
have been reported several times in south-east France. They were not captured during the survey conducted in 2005 because their ecological niches were rare or absent of the two sites and this study did not focus on their breeding sites (which correspond to tree holes for An. plumbeus
, rivers stream and small, cold and fresh water collection for the others) [14
]. However, An. plumbeus
and An. claviger
, which were considered as secondary vectors, could be more abundant in some others places, and particularly places close to humans.
has not been recorded in the Camargue and continental France so far, while it is abundant in Corsica, where it is reported in breeding sites such as small pools with fresh water and marshes [14
]. It is also abundant in Italy, particularly in paddies and in rivers and streams [28
]. In the context of global warming, distribution of this species has not yet expanded to the Camargue despite abundance of potential breeding sites, such as paddies.
Anopheles hyrcanus and An. melanoon presented similar dynamics in the two areas in 2005, although total mosquito numbers were very different. Their populations began increasing in the middle of June, reaching a peak near the middle of August and decreasing drastically in the middle of September (although An. melanoon decreased earlier). Dynamics of these species collapsed brutally at the end of July in the two areas without any identified cause (such as wind, temperature, treatment by mosquito pesticide, hygrometry, water supplying of breeding sites, significant modification of Anopheles breeding sites or moon cycle).
Populations of resting An. atroparvus
remained very low until September or October and then presented a peak in October and November although the number of collected specimens remained small. During this period, more An. atroparvus
were captured at Carbonnière and particularly in one horse shelter. In 1943, Sautet had observed that this species was very abundant in September suggesting a near disappearance of this species since the 1950's [9
presented a huge anthropophily in both areas with spectacular aggressiveness on humans: during this study scientists underwent massive attacks from females of this species. Results from others authors confirm the high level of anthropophily in France in the past or in South Eastern Europe and South Western Asia [20
]. It was reported as one of the principal mosquito pests in Northern Greece in 2001 [29
]. Unfortunately, only nine An. hyrcanus
bloodmeals were processed because very few blood-fed An. hyrcanus
females were captured in light traps. None of these nine blood meals were human demonstrating an opportunistic trophic behaviour of this species.
In contrast to An. hyrcanus
, An. melanoon
only exceptionally bite humans. This is confirmed by blood meal analyses: An. melanoon
bite animals, especially big mammals (horses and cows). The high degree of zoophily had already been reported [15
Parity rates were difficult to assess because sampling methods did not always provide enough mosquitoes suitable for dissection (too few or too dry mosquitoes). When it was possible to determine parity rates based on a robust number of specimens and using the same sampling method (light traps), parity rates were reported as inversely connected to population dynamics. This situation was observed at Marais du Vigueirat for An. hyrcanus (June, July and September), An. melanoon (July and September) and at Carbonnière for An. hyrcanus (July and September). Low parity rates, related to young populations, reflect the growth of populations during summer to reach a peak in August, while higher parity rates in September were related to older and decreasing populations.