Predation of aquatic immature stages has been identified as a major evolutionary force driving habitat segregation and niche partitioning in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto in the humid savannahs of Burkina Faso, West Africa. Here, we explored behavioural responses to the presence of a predator in wild populations of the M and S molecular forms of An. gambiae that typically breed in permanent (e.g., rice field paddies) and temporary (e.g., road ruts) water collections.
Larvae used in these experiments were obtained from eggs laid by wild female An. gambiae collected from two localities in south-western Burkina Faso during the 2008 rainy season. Single larvae were observed in an experimental arena, and behavioural traits were recorded and quantified a) in the absence of a predator and b) in the presence of a widespread mosquito predator, the backswimmer Anisops jaczewskii. Differences in the proportion of time allocated to each behaviour were assessed using Principal Component Analysis and Multivariate Analysis of Variance.
The behaviour of M and S form larvae was found to differ significantly; although both forms mainly foraged at the water surface, spending 60-90% of their time filtering water at the surface or along the wall of the container, M form larvae spent on average significantly more time browsing at the bottom of the container than S form larvae (4.5 vs. 1.3% of their overall time, respectively; P < 0.05). In the presence of a predator, larvae of both forms modified their behaviour, spending significantly more time resting along the container wall (P < 0.001). This change in behaviour was at least twice as great in the M form (from 38.6 to 66.6% of the time at the wall in the absence and presence of the predator, respectively) than in the S form (from 48.3 to 64.1%). Thrashing at the water surface exposed larvae to a significantly greater risk of predation by the notonectid (P < 0.01), whereas predation occurred significantly less often when larvae were at the container wall (P < 0.05) and might reflect predator vigilance.
Behavioural differences between larvae of the M and S form of An. gambiae in response to an acute predation risk is likely to be a reflection of different trade-offs between foraging and predator vigilance that might be of adaptive value in contrasting aquatic ecosystems. Future studies should explore the relevance of these findings under the wide range of natural settings where both forms co-exist in Africa.
Ongoing lineage splitting within the African malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae is compatible with ecological speciation, the evolution of reproductive isolation by divergent natural selection acting on two populations exploiting alternative resources. Divergence between two molecular forms (M and S) identified by fixed differences in rDNA, and characterized by marked, although incomplete, reproductive isolation is occurring in West and Central Africa. To elucidate the role that ecology and geography play in speciation, we carried out a countrywide analysis of An. gambiae M and S habitat requirements, and that of their chromosomal variants, across Burkina Faso.
Maps of relative abundance by geostatistical interpolators produced a distinct pattern of distribution: the M-form dominated in the northernmost arid zones, the S-form in the more humid southern regions. Maps of habitat suitability, quantified by Ecological Niche Factor Analysis based on 15 eco-geographical variables revealed less contrast among forms. M was peculiar as it occurred proportionally more in habitat of marginal quality. Measures of ecological niche breadth and overlap confirmed the mismatch between the fundamental and realized patterns of habitat occupation: forms segregated more than expected from the extent of divergence of their environmental envelope – a signature of niche expansion. Classification of chromosomal arm 2R karyotypes by multilocus genetic clustering identified two clusters loosely corresponding to molecular forms, with 'mismatches' representing admixed individuals due to shared ancestral polymorphism and/or residual hybridization. In multivariate ordination space, these karyotypes plotted in habitat of more marginal quality compared to non-admixed, 'typical', karyotypes. The distribution of 'typical' karyotypes along the main eco-climatic gradient followed a consistent pattern within and between forms, indicating an adaptive role of inversions at this geographical scale.
Ecological segregation between M and S is consistent with niche expansion into marginal habitats by chromosomal inversion variants during early lineage divergence; presumably, this process is promoted by inter-karyotype competition in the higher-quality core habitat. We propose that the appearance of favourable allelic combinations in other regions of suppressed recombination (e.g. pericentromeric portions defining speciation islands in An. gambiae) fosters development of reproductive isolation to protect linkage between separate chromosomal regions.
In West Africa, lineage splitting between the M and S molecular forms of the major Afro-tropical malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae is thought to be driven by ecological divergence, occurring mainly at the larval stage. Here, we present evidences for habitat segregation between the two molecular forms in and around irrigated rice-fields located within the humid savannahs background of western Burkina Faso. Longitudinal sampling of adult mosquitoes emerging from a range of breeding sites distributed along a transect extending from the heart of the rice-fields area into the surrounding savannahs was conducted from June to November 2009. Analysis revealed that the two molecular forms and their sibling species An. arabiensis are not randomly distributed in the area. A major ecological gradient was extracted, in relation to the rice-fields perimeter. The M form was associated with larger breeding sites, which were mainly represented by rice field paddies whereas the S form and An. arabiensis were found to depend upon temporary, rain-filled breeding sites. These results support hypotheses about larval habitat segregation and confirm that both forms have different larval habitat requirement. Segregation appears clearly linked to anthropogenic permanent habitats and the community structure they support.
Anopheles gambiae; segregation; larval habitat; hydro-periodicity; community structure; niche partitioning
The molecular forms of Anopheles gambiae are undergoing speciation. They are characterized by a strong assortative mating and they display partial habitat segregation. The M form is mostly found in flooded/irrigated areas whereas the S form dominates in the surrounding areas, but the ecological factors that shape this habitat segregation are not known. Resource competition has been demonstrated between species undergoing divergent selection, but resource competition is not the only factor that can lead to divergence.
In a field experiment using transplantation of first instar larvae, we evaluated the role of larval predators in mediating habitat segregation between the forms. We found a significant difference in the ability of the molecular forms to exploit the different larval sites conditioned on the presence of predators. In absence of predation, the molecular forms outcompeted each other in their respective natural habitats however, the developmental success of the M form was significantly higher than that of the S form in both habitats under predator pressure.
Our results provide the first empirical evidence for specific adaptive differences between the molecular forms and stress the role of larval predation as one of the mechanisms contributing to their divergence.
The current status of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes and the effects of insecticides on non-target insect species have raised the need for alternative control methods for malaria vectors. Predation has been suggested as one of the important regulation mechanisms for malaria vectors in long-lasting aquatic habitats, but the predation efficiency of the potential predators is largely unknown in the highlands of western Kenya. In the current study, we examined the predation efficiency of five predators on Anopheles gambiae s.s larvae in 24 hour and semi- field evaluations.
Predators were collected from natural habitats and starved for 12 hours prior to starting experiments. Preliminary experiments were conducted to ascertain the larval stage most predated by each predator species. When each larval instar was subjected to predation, third instar larvae were predated at the highest rate. Third instar larvae of An. gambiae were introduced into artificial habitats with and without refugia at various larval densities. The numbers of surviving larvae were counted after 24 hours in 24. In semi-field experiments, the larvae were counted daily until they were all either consumed or had developed to the pupal stage. Polymerase chain reaction was used to confirm the presence of An. gambiae DNA in predator guts.
Experiments found that habitat type (P < 0.0001) and predator species (P < 0.0001) had a significant impact on the predation rate in the 24 hour evaluations. In semi-field experiments, predator species (P < 0.0001) and habitat type (P < 0.0001) were significant factors in both the daily survival and the overall developmental time of larvae. Pupation rates took significantly longer in habitats with refugia. An. gambiae DNA was found in at least three out of ten midguts for all predator species. Gambusia affins was the most efficient, being three times more efficient than tadpoles.
These experiments provide insight into the efficiency of specific natural predators against mosquito larvae. These naturally occurring predators may be useful in biocontrol strategies for aquatic stage An. gambiae mosquitoes. Further investigations should be done in complex natural habitats for these predators.
Urban malaria cases are becoming common in Africa as more people move into cities and industrialization proceeds. While many species of Anopheles mosquitoes vector malaria in rural areas, only a few are found within cities. The success of anthropophilic species in cities, such as members of the An. gambiae complex, may be explained by limitations on colonization by predator species in urban environments. Habitats that are temporal or structurally simple have lower predator survivorship in a variety of ecosystems, but these have not been investigated previously in an urban area. Areas within and around the Kenyan coastal town of Malindi were previously sampled for the presence of standing water using a geographic sampling strategy with probability proportional to size sampling of planned well-drained, unplanned poorly-drained, planned poorly-drained, unplanned well-drained, and peri-urban locations. Standing aquatic habitats in these areas were reassessed. During monthly sampling, presence/absence of mosquitoes and predator taxa were noted, as were ecological habitat variables: structural complexity and presence of water. Lambda statistics were calculated to associate predator guilds, habitat types, location variables, and ecological variables. All predator guilds found in habitats were strongly associated with habitat type, as were the structural complexity and temporal nature of the habitats. Types of habitat were heterogeneously distributed throughout Malindi, with swimming pools as a common habitat type in planned urban areas and tire track pools a common habitat type in peri-urban areas of Malindi. Predator colonization of aquatic habitats in Malindi was strongly influenced by habitat type, and not associated with location characteristics. Ecological variables were affected by the type of habitats, which are co-associated with planning and drainage in Malindi. While habitat types are distributed heterogeneously within Malindi, habitats with low predation pressure are available for mosquito colonization in both urban and peri-urban areas. The temporal, peri-urban tire track pools and the structural simplicity of urban swimming pools may discourage predator colonization, thereby increasing the probability of malaria vectors in these areas of Malindi. Future studies should evaluate habitats for use in malaria surveillance and experimentally test the effects of structural complexity and temporal nature of urban habitats on the densities of mosquito larvae and their aquatic predators.
Anopheles gambiae; predation; urban; Malindi
Speciation among members of the Anopheles gambiae complex is thought to be promoted by disruptive selection and ecological divergence acting on sets of adaptation genes protected from recombination by polymorphic paracentric chromosomal inversions. However, shared chromosomal polymorphisms between the M and S molecular forms of An. gambiae and insufficient information about their relationship with ecological divergence challenge this view. We used Geographic Information Systems, Ecological Niche Factor Analysis, and Bayesian multilocus genetic clustering to explore the nature and extent of ecological and chromosomal differentiation of M and S across all the biogeographic domains of Cameroon in Central Africa, in order to understand the role of chromosomal arrangements in ecological specialisation within and among molecular forms.
Species distribution modelling with presence-only data revealed differences in the ecological niche of both molecular forms and the sibling species, An. arabiensis. The fundamental environmental envelope of the two molecular forms, however, overlapped to a large extent in the rainforest, where they occurred in sympatry. The S form had the greatest niche breadth of all three taxa, whereas An. arabiensis and the M form had the smallest niche overlap. Correspondence analysis of M and S karyotypes confirmed that molecular forms shared similar combinations of chromosomal inversion arrangements in response to the eco-climatic gradient defining the main biogeographic domains occurring across Cameroon. Savanna karyotypes of M and S, however, segregated along the smaller-scale environmental gradient defined by the second ordination axis. Population structure analysis identified three chromosomal clusters, each containing a mixture of M and S specimens. In both M and S, alternative karyotypes were segregating in contrasted environments, in agreement with a strong ecological adaptive value of chromosomal inversions.
Our data suggest that inversions on the second chromosome of An. gambiae are not causal to the evolution of reproductive isolation between the M and S forms. Rather, they are involved in ecological specialization to a similar extent in both genetic backgrounds, and most probably predated lineage splitting between molecular forms. However, because chromosome-2 inversions promote ecological divergence, resulting in spatial and/or temporal isolation between ecotypes, they might favour mutations in other ecologically significant genes to accumulate in unlinked chromosomal regions. When such mutations occur in portions of the genome where recombination is suppressed, such as the pericentromeric regions known as speciation islands in An. gambiae, they would contribute further to the development of reproductive isolation.
The African malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae is undergoing speciation, being split into the M and S molecular forms. Speciation is the main process promoting biological diversity, thus, new vector species might complicate disease transmission. Genetic differentiation between the molecular forms has been extensively studied, but phenotypic differences between them, the evolutionary forces that generated divergence, and the mechanisms that maintain their genetic isolation have only recently been addressed. Here, we review recent studies suggesting that selection mediated by larval predation and competition promoted divergence between temporary and permanent freshwater habitats. These differences explain the sharp discontinuity in distribution of the molecular forms between rice fields and surrounding savanna, but they can also explain the concurrent cline between humid and arid environments due to the dependence on permanent habitats in the latter. Although less pronounced, differences in adult body size, reproductive output, and longevity also suggest that the molecular forms have adapted to distinct niches. Reproductive isolation between the molecular forms is achieved by spatial swarm segregation, although within-swarm mate recognition appears to play a role in certain locations. The implications of these results to disease transmission and control are discussed and many of the gaps in our understanding are highlighted.
Limitations in the ability of organisms to tolerate environmental stressors affect their fundamental ecological niche and constrain their distribution to specific habitats. Evolution of tolerance, therefore, can engender ecological niche dynamics. Forest populations of the afro-tropical malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae have been shown to adapt to historically unsuitable larval habitats polluted with decaying organic matter that are found in densely populated urban agglomerates of Cameroon. This process has resulted in niche expansion from rural to urban environments that is associated with cryptic speciation and ecological divergence of two evolutionarily significant units within this taxon, the molecular forms M and S, among which reproductive isolation is significant but still incomplete. Habitat segregation between the two forms results in a mosaic distribution of clinally parapatric patches, with the M form predominating in the centre of urban agglomerates and the S form in the surrounding rural localities. We hypothesized that development of tolerance to nitrogenous pollutants derived from the decomposition of organic matter, among which ammonia is the most toxic to aquatic organisms, may affect this pattern of distribution and process of niche expansion by the M form.
Acute toxicity bioassays indicated that populations of the two molecular forms occurring at the extremes of an urbanization gradient in Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, differed in their response to ammonia. The regression lines best describing the dose-mortality profile differed in the scale of the explanatory variable (ammonia concentration log-transformed for the S form and linear for the M form), and in slope (steeper for the S form and shallower for the M form). These features reflected differences in the frequency distribution of individual tolerance thresholds in the two populations as assessed by probit analysis, with the M form exhibiting a greater mean and variance compared to the S form.
In agreement with expectations based on the pattern of habitat partitioning and exposure to ammonia in larval habitats in Yaounde, the M form showed greater tolerance to ammonia compared to the S form. This trait may be part of the physiological machinery allowing forest populations of the M form to colonize polluted larval habitats, which is at the heart of its niche expansion in densely populated human settlements in Cameroon.
Local adaptation; Fundamental ecological niche; Environmental stressor; Evolution of tolerance; Urbanization; Malaria; Mosquito
Malaria control programs are being jeopardized by the spread of insecticide resistance in mosquito vector populations. The situation in Burkina Faso is emblematic with Anopheles gambiae populations showing high levels of resistance to most available compounds. Although the frequency of insecticide target-site mutations including knockdown resistance (kdr) and insensitive acetylcholinesterase (Ace-1R) alleles has been regularly monitored in the area, it is not known whether detoxifying enzymes contribute to the diversity of resistance phenotypes observed in the field. Here, we propose an update on the phenotypic diversity of insecticide resistance in An. gambiae populations sampled from 10 sites in Burkina Faso in 2010. Susceptibility to deltamethrin, permethrin, DDT, bendiocarb and fenithrotion was assessed. Test specimens (N = 30 per locality) were identified to species and molecular form and their genotype at the kdr and Ace-1 loci was determined. Detoxifying enzymes activities including non-specific esterases (NSEs), oxydases (cytochrome P450) and Glutathione S-Transferases (GSTs) were measured on single mosquitoes (N = 50) from each test locality and compared with the An. gambiae Kisumu susceptible reference strain. In all sites, mosquitoes demonstrated multiple resistance phenotypes, showing reduced mortality to several insecticidal compounds at the same time, although with considerable site-to-site variation. Both the kdr 1014L and Ace-1R 119S resistant alleles were detected in the M and the S forms of An. gambiae, and were found together in specimens of the S form. Variation in detoxifying enzyme activities was observed within and between vector populations. Elevated levels of NSEs and GSTs were widespread, suggesting multiple resistance mechanisms segregate within An. gambiae populations from this country. By documenting the extent and diversity of insecticide resistance phenotypes and the putative combination of their underlying mechanisms in An. gambiae mosquitoes, our work prompts for new alternative strategies to be urgently developed for the control of major malaria vectors in Burkina Faso.
Anthropogenic habitat disturbance is a prime cause in the current trend of the Earth’s reduction in biodiversity. Here we show that the human footprint on the Central African rainforest, which is resulting in deforestation and growth of densely populated urban agglomerates, is associated to ecological divergence and cryptic speciation leading to adaptive radiation within the major malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae.
In southern Cameroon, the frequency of two molecular forms–M and S–among which reproductive isolation is strong but still incomplete, was correlated to an index of urbanisation extracted from remotely sensed data, expressed as the proportion of built-up surface in each sampling unit. The two forms markedly segregated along an urbanisation gradient forming a bimodal cline of ∼6-km width: the S form was exclusive to the rural habitat, whereas only the M form was present in the core of densely urbanised settings, co-occurring at times in the same polluted larval habitats of the southern house mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus–a species association that was not historically recorded before.
Our results indicate that when humans create novel habitats and ecological heterogeneities, they can provide evolutionary opportunities for rapid adaptive niche shifts associated with lineage divergence, whose consequences upon malaria transmission might be significant.
The Afrotropical mosquito Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto (A. gambiae), a major vector of malaria, is currently undergoing speciation into the M and S molecular forms. These forms have diverged in larval ecology and reproductive behavior through unknown genetic mechanisms, despite considerable levels of hybridization. Previous genome-wide scans using gene-based microarrays uncovered divergence between M and S that was largely confined to gene-poor pericentromeric regions, prompting a speciation-with-ongoing-gene-flow model that implicated only ~3% of the genome near centromeres in the speciation process. Here, based on the complete M and S genome sequences, we report widespread and heterogeneous genomic divergence inconsistent with appreciable levels of inter-form gene flow, suggesting a more advanced speciation process and greater challenges to identify genes critical to initiating that process.
The African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto (A. gambiae), provides a unique opportunity to study the evolution of reproductive isolation because it is divided into two sympatric, partially isolated subtaxa known as M form and S form. With the annotated genome of this species now available, high-throughput techniques can be applied to locate and characterize the genomic regions contributing to reproductive isolation. In order to quantify patterns of differentiation within A. gambiae, we hybridized population samples of genomic DNA from each form to Affymetrix GeneChip microarrays. We found that three regions, together encompassing less than 2.8 Mb, are the only locations where the M and S forms are significantly differentiated. Two of these regions are adjacent to centromeres, on Chromosomes 2L and X, and contain 50 and 12 predicted genes, respectively. Sequenced loci in these regions contain fixed differences between forms and no shared polymorphisms, while no fixed differences were found at nearby control loci. The third region, on Chromosome 2R, contains only five predicted genes; fixed differences in this region were also verified by direct sequencing. These “speciation islands” remain differentiated despite considerable gene flow, and are therefore expected to contain the genes responsible for reproductive isolation. Much effort has recently been applied to locating the genes and genetic changes responsible for reproductive isolation between species. Though much can be inferred about speciation by studying taxa that have diverged for millions of years, studying differentiation between taxa that are in the early stages of isolation will lead to a clearer view of the number and size of regions involved in the genetics of speciation. Despite appreciable levels of gene flow between the M and S forms of A. gambiae, we were able to isolate three small regions of differentiation where genes responsible for ecological and behavioral isolation are likely to be located. We expect reproductive isolation to be due to changes at a small number of loci, as these regions together contain only 67 predicted genes. Concentrating future mapping experiments on these regions should reveal the genes responsible for reproductive isolation between forms.
Using DNA microarrays, the authors identify 3 small regions of the genome that differ between two forms of hybridizing mosquitoes; regions that are likely to contain the genes responsible for reproductive isolation.
The Anopheles gambiae species complex includes at least seven morphologically indistinguishable species, one of which, Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto, is the primary mosquito vector responsible for the transmission of malaria across sub-Saharan Africa. Sympatric ecological diversification of An. gambiae s.s. is in progress within this complex, leading to the emergence of at least two incipient species (the M and S molecular forms now recognized as good species and named An. coluzzii and An. gambiae respectively) that show heterogeneous levels of divergence in most parts of Africa. However, this process seems to have broken down in coastal areas of West Africa at the extreme edge of the distribution. We undertook a longitudinal study to describe An. gambiae s.s. populations collected from two inland transects with different ecological characteristics in south-eastern Senegal. Analysis of samples collected from 20 sites across these two transects showed the M and S molecular forms coexisted at almost all sampled sites. Overall, similar hybridization rates (2.16% and 1.86%) were recorded in the two transects; sites with relatively high frequencies of M/S hybrids (up to 7%) were clustered toward the north-western part of both transects, often near urban settings. Estimated inbreeding indices for this putative speciation event varied spatially (range: 0.52–1), with hybridization rates being generally lower than expected under panmictic conditions. Such observations suggest substantial reproductive isolation between the M and S molecular forms, and further support the ongoing process of speciation in these inland areas. According to a recent reclassification of the An. gambiae complex, the M and S molecular forms from this zone correspond to An. coluzzii and An. gambiae, respectively. There is considerable evidence that these molecular forms differ in their behavioural and ecological characteristics. Detailed study of these characteristics will allow the development and implementation of better insect control strategies for combating malaria.
Historical studies have indicated that An. gambiae s.s. is the predominant malaria vector species in Bobo-Dioulasso the second biggest city of Burkina Faso (West Africa). However, over the last decade, An. arabiensis appears to be replacing An. gambiae s.s. as the most prevalent malaria vector in this urban setting. To investigate this species transition in more detail the present study aims to provide an update on the malaria vector composition in Bobo-Dioulasso, and also the Plasmodium infection rates and susceptibility to insecticides of the local An. gambiae s.l. population.
An entomological survey was carried out from May to December 2008 in Dioulassoba and Kodeni (central and peripheral districts respectively), which are representative of the main ecological features of the city. Sampling consisted of the collection of larval stages from water bodies, and adults by monthly indoor residual spraying (IRS) using aerosol insecticides. Insecticide susceptibility tests were performed using the WHO filter paper protocol on adults emerged from larvae. PCR was used to determine vector species and to identify resistance mechanisms (kdr and ace-1R). The Plasmodium infection rate was estimated by ELISA performed on female mosquitoes collected indoors by IRS.
An. arabiensis was found to be the major malaria vector in Bobo-Dioulasso, comprising 50 to 100% of the vector population. The sporozoite infection rate for An. arabiensis was higher than An. gambiae s.s. at both Dioulassoba and Kodeni. An. gambiae s.l. was resistant to DDT and cross-resistant to pyrethroids at the two sites with higher levels of resistance observed in An. gambiae s.s. than An. arabiensis. Resistance to 0.1% bendiocarb was observed in the An. gambiae s.s. S form but not the M form or in An. arabiensis. The L1014F kdr mutation was detected in the two molecular forms of An. gambiae s.s. at varying frequencies (0.45 to 0.92), but was not detected in An. arabiensis, suggesting that other mechanisms are involved in DDT resistance in this species. The ace-1R mutation was only detected in the S molecular form and was observed at the two sites at similar frequency (0.3).
Over the last ten years, An. arabiensis has become the major malaria vector in Bobo-Dioulasso city where it was formerly present only at low frequency. However, the ecological determinant that enhances the settlement of this species into urban and peri-urban areas of Bobo-Dioulasso remains to be clarified. The impact of the changing An. gambiae s.l. population in this region for vector control including resistance management strategies is discussed.
Malaria; Anopheles gambiae s.l.; An. arabiensis; Insecticide resistance; Bobo-Dioulasso; Burkina Faso
Larval control is of paramount importance in the reduction of vector populations. Previous observations have suggested that, larvae of Anopheles gambiae s.l occur more often in small temporary habitats while other studies showed that long-lasting stable habitats are more productive than unstable habitats. In addition, the physical and biological conditions and stability of larval habitats can change rapidly in natural conditions. Therefore, we examined the effect of larval habitat age on productivity, larval survival and oviposition preference of Anopheles gambiae.
We sampled the three different habitat ages (10, 20 and 30 days) on a daily basis for a period of six months to determine mosquito larval abundance. In addition, we tested the effect of age of water (habitat age) on the oviposition choice preference of An. gambiae, larval development time and survivorship, and wing lengths of emerging adults. Additionally, chlorophyll a and abundance of mosquito larval predators in these habitats were monitored.
Anopheles gambiae s.l. larvae were significantly more abundant (P=0.0002) in habitats that were cleared every 10 days compared to the other habitats. In particular, there were 1.7 times more larvae in this habitat age compared to the ones that were cleared every 30 days. There were significantly (P<0.001) more mosquito larval predators in the ‘30 day’ habitats compared to the other habitats. Oviposition experiments revealed that significantly more eggs (P<0.05) were laid in fresh water and water that was 5 days old compared to water that was 10 and 15 days old. However, pupation rate, development times and wing lengths of male and female An. gambiae in the different habitat ages was statistically insignificant (P>0.05).
The current study confirmed that age of the habitat significantly influences the productivity of malaria vectors in western Kenya highlands. Given that malaria vectors were found in all habitats with varying ages of water, simple environmental methods of maintaining the drainage ditches in the valley bottoms can help reduce larval abundance of malaria vectors. Such inexpensive methods of controlling mosquito breeding could be promoted to supplement other vector control methods, especially in areas where scarce resources are available for intensive mosquito control.
Insecticide resistance of the main malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae, has been reported in south-western Burkina Faso, West Africa. Cross-resistance to DDT and pyrethroids was conferred by alterations at site of action in the sodium channel, the Leu-Phe kdr mutation; resistance to organophosphates and carbamates resulted from a single point mutation in the oxyanion hole of the acetylcholinesterase enzyme designed as ace-1R.
An entomological survey was carried out during the rainy season of 2005 at Vallée du Kou, a rice growing area in south-western Burkina Faso. At the Vallée du Kou, both insecticide resistance mechanisms have been previously described in the M and S molecular forms of An. gambiae. This survey aimed i) to update the temporal dynamics and the circumsporozoite infection rate of the two molecular forms M and S of An. gambiae ii) to update the frequency of the Leu-Phe kdr mutation within these forms and finally iii) to investigate the occurrence of the ace-1R mutation.
Mosquitoes collected by indoor residual collection and by human landing catches were counted and morphologically identified. Species and molecular forms of An. gambiae, ace-1R and Leu-Phe kdr mutations were determined using PCR techniques. The presence of the circumsporozoite protein of Plasmodium falciparum was determined using ELISA.
Anopheles gambiae populations were dominated by the M form. However the S form occurred in relative important proportion towards the end of the rainy season with a maximum peak in October at 51%. Sporozoite rates were similar in both forms. The frequency of the Leu-Phe kdr mutation in the S form reached a fixation level while it is still spreading in the M form. Furthermore, the ace-1R mutation prevailed predominately in the S form and has just started spreading in the M form. The two mutations occurred concomitantly both in M and S populations.
These results showed that the Vallée du Kou, a rice growing area formerly occupied mainly by M susceptible populations, is progressively colonized by S resistant populations living in sympatry with the former. As a result, the distribution pattern of insecticide resistance mutations shows the occurrence of both resistance mechanisms concomitantly in the same populations. The impact of multiple resistance mechanisms in M and S populations of An. gambiae on vector control measures against malaria transmission, such as insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS), in this area is discussed.
As the ecology of mosquito larvae can be complex there is need to develop a rational framework for undertaking larval ecological studies. Local environmental characteristics, such as altitude, climate and land use, can significantly impact on phenology and population dynamics of mosquito larvae, and indirectly affect the dynamics of mosquito-borne diseases. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of implementing an integrated approach to larval source management under the distinct ecological settings.
The study was conducted in two highland villages and one village, at a lower altitude, in the Lake Victoria basin, where malaria is endemic and transmitted by the same Anopheles mosquito species. In each village the stability of mosquito larval habitats was classified as either temporary or permanent. The productivity of these habitat types was quantified by carrying out weekly larval sampling using a standard dipping method for a period of two years. During sampling the physical characteristic of the larval habitat, including the vegetation cover were noted. Ambient temperature, rainfall and relative humidity were recorded on a 21 × Micro-datalogger in each study site.
Anopheles gambiae sensu lato larvae were found in all study sites. Anopheles arabiensis was more abundant (93%) in Nyalenda (Lake Victoria basin) and Fort Ternan (highland area; 71%). In Lunyerere (highland area), An. gambiae sensu stricto comprised 93% of the total An. gambiae s.l. larvae. Larvae of An. gambiae s.l. mosquitoes were present in both temporary and permanent habitats with monthly variations dependent on rainfall intensity and location. Anopheles larvae were more likely to be found in man-made as opposed to natural habitats. Grassy habitats were preferred and were, therefore, more productive of Anopheles larvae compared to other habitat types. Weekly rainfall intensity led to an increase or decrease in mosquito larval abundance depending on the location.
The majority of mosquito breeding habitats were man made in all sites. Both temporary and permanent habitats were suitable for An. gambiae breeding. In Fort Ternan temporary sites were favoured for mosquito breeding above permanent sites. Significant differences in larval abundance were found depending on weekly rainfall intensity. Larval source management programmes should target permanent and temporary habitats equally and work closely with land and home owners as a majority of the breeding habitats are man made.
Knowledge of the local pattern of malaria transmission and the effect of season on transmission is essential for the planning and evaluation of malaria interventions. Therefore, entomological surveys were carried out in the forest-savannah transitional belt of Ghana (Kintampo) from November 2003 to November 2005 in preparation for drug and vaccine trials.
A total of 23,406 mosquitoes were caught from 919 traps over the two-year period (November 2003 to November 2005): 54.3% were Culicines, 36.2% Anopheles funestus, and 9.4% Anopheles gambiae. Infection rates with Plasmodium falciparum were 4.7% and 1.5% for Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus, respectively. Entomological inoculation rates (EIRs) were 269 infective bites per person per year in the first year (November 2003-October 2004) and 231 the following year (November 2004-November 2005). Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) analysis detected only Anopheles gambiae s.s. Nineteen mosquitoes were tested by PCR in the wet season; 16 were S-molecular form, 2 M-molecular form and 1 hybrid (S/M). In the dry season, sixteen mosquitoes were tested; 11 S-molecular form, 2 M-molecular form and 3 S/M hybrids. The frequency of knock down resistance (kdr) genotypes F(R) was 0.60.
The dynamics and seasonal abundance of malaria vectors in the Kintampo area was influenced by micro-ecology, rainfall and temperature patterns. Transmission patterns did not differ significantly between the two years (2004 and 2005) and both Anopheles gambiae and Anopheles funestus were identified as effective vectors. EIR estimates in 2004/2005 were between 231 and 269 infective bites per person per year. The information provided by the study will help in planning intensified malaria control activities as well as evaluating the impact of malaria interventions in the middle belt of Ghana.
A speciation process is ongoing in the primary vector of malaria in Africa, Anopheles gambiae. Assortatively mating incipient species known as the M and S forms differentially exploit larval breeding sites associated with different ecological settings. However, some ongoing gene flow between M and S limits significant genomic differentiation mainly to small centromere-proximal regions on chromosomes X and 2L, termed “speciation islands” with the expectation that they contain the genes responsible for reproductive isolation. As the speciation islands exhibit reduced recombination and low polymorphism, more detailed genetic analysis using fine-scale mapping is impractical. We measured global gene expression differences between M and S using oligonucleotide microarrays, with the goal of identifying candidate genes that could be involved in this ongoing speciation process. Gene expression profiles were examined in two independent colonies of both forms at each of three developmental periods of interest: fourth instar larvae, virgin females, and gravid females. Patterns were validated on a subset of genes using quantitative real-time reverse transcription PCR of RNA samples from laboratory colonies and wild mosquitoes collected from Cameroon and Burkina Faso. Considered across all three developmental periods, differentially expressed genes represented ~1-2% of all expressed genes. Although disproportionately represented in the X speciation island, the vast majority of genes were located outside any speciation island. Compared to samples from the other developmental periods, virgin females were characterized by more than twice as many differentially expressed genes, most notably those implicated in olfaction and potentially, mate recognition.
Anopheles gambiae, a major vector of malaria, is widely distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa. In an attempt to eliminate infective mosquitoes, researchers are trying to develop transgenic strains that are refractory to the Plasmodium parasite. Before any release of transgenic mosquitoes can be envisaged, we need an accurate picture of the differentiation between the two molecular forms of An. gambiae, termed M and S, which are of uncertain taxonomic status.
Insertion patterns of three transposable elements (TEs) were determined in populations from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, and Tanzania, using Transposon Display, a TE-anchored strategy based on Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphism. The results reveal a clear differentiation between the M and S forms, whatever their geographical origin, suggesting an incipient speciation process.
Any attempt to control the transmission of malaria by An. gambiae using either conventional or novel technologies must take the M/S genetic differentiation into account. In addition, we localized three TE insertion sites that were present either in every individual or at a high frequency in the M molecular form. These sites were found to be located outside the chromosomal regions that are suspected of involvement in the speciation event between the two forms. This suggests that these chromosomal regions are either larger than previously thought, or there are additional differentiated genomic regions interspersed with undifferentiated regions.
Suitability of environmental conditions determines a species distribution in space and time. Understanding and modelling the ecological niche of mosquito disease vectors can, therefore, be a powerful predictor of the risk of exposure to the pathogens they transmit. In Africa, five anophelines are responsible for over 95% of total malaria transmission. However, detailed knowledge of the geographic distribution and ecological requirements of these species is to date still inadequate.
Indoor-resting mosquitoes were sampled from 386 villages covering the full range of ecological settings available in Cameroon, Central Africa. Using a predictive species distribution modeling approach based only on presence records, habitat suitability maps were constructed for the five major malaria vectors Anopheles gambiae, Anopheles funestus, Anopheles arabiensis, Anopheles nili and Anopheles moucheti. The influence of 17 climatic, topographic, and land use variables on mosquito geographic distribution was assessed by multivariate regression and ordination techniques.
Twenty-four anopheline species were collected, of which 17 are known to transmit malaria in Africa. Ecological Niche Factor Analysis, Habitat Suitability modeling and Canonical Correspondence Analysis revealed marked differences among the five major malaria vector species, both in terms of ecological requirements and niche breadth. Eco-geographical variables (EGVs) related to human activity had the highest impact on habitat suitability for the five major malaria vectors, with areas of low population density being of marginal or unsuitable habitat quality. Sunlight exposure, rainfall, evapo-transpiration, relative humidity, and wind speed were among the most discriminative EGVs separating "forest" from "savanna" species.
The distribution of major malaria vectors in Cameroon is strongly affected by the impact of humans on the environment, with variables related to proximity to human settings being among the best predictors of habitat suitability. The ecologically more tolerant species An. gambiae and An. funestus were recorded in a wide range of eco-climatic settings. The other three major vectors, An. arabiensis, An. moucheti, and An. nili, were more specialized. Ecological niche and species distribution modelling should help improve malaria vector control interventions by targeting places and times where the impact on vector populations and disease transmission can be optimized.
Pyrethroid insecticides are widely used for insect pest control in Cameroon. In certain insect species, particularly the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae, resistance to this class of insecticides is a source of great concern and needs to be monitored in order to sustain the efficacy of vector control operations in the fields. This study highlights trends in DDT and pyrethroid resistance in wild An. gambiae populations from South Cameroon.
Mosquitoes were collected between 2001 and 2007 in four sites in South Cameroon, where insecticides are used for agricultural or personal protection purposes. Insecticide use was documented in each site by interviewing residents. Batches of 2-4 days old adult female mosquitoes reared from larval collections were tested for susceptibility to DDT, permethrin and deltamethrin using standard WHO procedures. Control, dead and survivors mosquitoes from bioassays were identified by PCR-RFLP and characterized for the kdr mutations using either the AS-PCR or the HOLA method.
Four chemical insecticide groups were cited in the study sites: organochlorines, organophosphates, carbamates and pyrethroids. These chemicals were used for personal, crop or wood protection. In the four An. gambiae populations tested, significant variation in resistance levels, molecular forms composition and kdr frequencies were recorded in the time span of the study. Increases in DDT and pyrethroid resistance, as observed in most areas, were generally associated with an increase in the relative frequency of the S molecular form carrying the kdr mutations at higher frequencies. In Mangoum, however, where only the S form was present, a significant increase in the frequency of kdr alleles between 2003 to 2007 diverged with a decrease of the level of resistance to DDT and pyrethroids. Analyses of the kdr frequencies in dead and surviving mosquitoes showed partial correlation between the kdr genotypes and resistance phenotypes, suggesting that the kdr mechanism may act with certain co-factors to be identified.
These results demonstrate the ongoing spread of kdr alleles in An. gambiae in Central Africa. The rapid evolution of insecticide resistance in this highly dynamic and genetically polymorphic species remains a challenge for its control.
The geographic and temporal distribution of M and S molecular forms of the major Afrotropical malaria vector species Anopheles gambiae s.s. at the western extreme of their range of distribution has never been investigated in detail.
Materials and methods
Collections of indoor-resting An. gambiae s.l. females were carried out along a ca. 400 km west to east transect following the River Gambia from the western coastal region of The Gambia to south-eastern Senegal during 2005 end of rainy season/early dry season and the 2006 rainy season. Specimens were identified to species and molecular forms by PCR-RFLP and the origin of blood-meal of fed females was determined by ELISA test.
Over 4,000 An. gambiae s.l. adult females were collected and identified, 1,041 and 3,038 in 2005 and 2006, respectively. M-form was mainly found in sympatry with Anopheles melas and S-form in the western part of the transect, and with Anopheles arabiensis in the central part. S-form was found to prevail in rural Sudan-Guinean savannah areas of Eastern Senegal, in sympatry with An. arabiensis. Anopheles melas and An. arabiensis relative frequencies were generally lower in the rainy season samples, when An. gambiae s.s. was prevailing. No large seasonal fluctuations were observed for M and S-forms. In areas where both M and S were recorded, the frequency of hybrids between them ranged from to 0.6% to 7%.
The observed pattern of taxa distribution supports the hypothesis of a better adaptation of M-form to areas characterized by water-retaining alluvial deposits along the Gambia River, characterized by marshy vegetation, mangrove woods and rice cultivations. In contrast, the S-form seems to be better adapted to free-draining soil, covered with open woodland savannah or farmland, rich in temporary larval breeding sites characterizing mainly the eastern part of the transect, where the environmental impact of the Gambia River is much less profound and agricultural activities are mainly rain-dependent. Very interestingly, the observed frequency of hybridization between the molecular forms along the whole transect was much higher than has been reported so far for other areas.
The results support a bionomic divergence between the M and S-forms, and suggest that the western extreme of An. gambiae s.s. geographical distribution may represent an area of higher-than-expected hybridization between the two molecular forms.
Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto, one of the principal vectors of malaria, has been divided into two subspecific groups, known as the M and S molecular forms. Recent studies suggest that the M form found in Cameroon is genetically distinct from the M form found in Mali and elsewhere in West Africa, suggesting further subdivision within that form.
Chromosomal, microsatellite and geographic/ecological evidence are synthesized to identify sources of genetic polymorphism among chromosomal and molecular forms of the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae s.s.
Cytogenetically the Forest M form is characterized as carrying the standard chromosome arrangement for six major chromosomal inversions, namely 2La, 2Rj, 2Rb, 2Rc, 2Rd, and 2Ru. Bayesian clustering analysis based on molecular form and chromosome inversion polymorphisms as well as microsatellites describe the Forest M form as a distinct population relative to the West African M form (Mopti-M form) and the S form. The Forest-M form was the most highly diverged of the An. gambiae s.s. groups based on microsatellite markers. The prevalence of the Forest M form was highly correlated with precipitation, suggesting that this form prefers much wetter environments than the Mopti-M form.
Chromosome inversions, microsatellite allele frequencies and habitat preference all indicate that the Forest M form of An. gambiae is genetically distinct from the other recognized forms within the taxon Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto. Since this study covers limited regions of Cameroon, the possibility of gene flow between the Forest-M form and Mopti-M form cannot be rejected. However, association studies of important phenotypes, such as insecticide resistance and refractoriness against malaria parasites, should take into consideration this complex population structure.