Experimental evaluation of overhanging bamboo in Anopheles darlingi larval habitat selection in Belize, Central America

Nicole L. Achee*, John P. Grieco, Richard G. Andre, Donald R. Roberts, Eliska Rejmankova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Previous studies in Belize have shown the preferred breeding habitats of the malaria vector Anopheles darlingi were floating detritus patches within riverine systems that were associated with overhanging bamboo. The present study focused on an experimental evaluation of overhanging bamboo in An. darlingi habitat selection using larval counts as an indicator of attractiveness. Four sets of 1-m2 floating screened enclosures were placed at a location with a documented presence of both larval and adult An. darlingi populations. Each enclosure set comprised a control (i.e., open water) and three other experimental treatments consisting of: 1) detritus, 2) detritus with overhanging bamboo, and 3) overhanging bamboo alone. Larvae were sampled from all treatments on Day 5, Day 11, and Day 17 post-setup. A total of 2,461 An. darlingi larvae were collected and identified from three trials conducted from March-May 2002. Of these, 1,997 larvae were sampled from detritus treatments, 256 from enclosures with bamboo and detritus, 139 from bamboo treatments, and 69 from control enclosures. The detritus treatment had a significantly higher average count of An. darlingi larvae than the other treatments (P<0.01), and no difference existed between the control treatment and the treatment containing overhanging bamboo alone (P=0.423). More importantly, enclosures containing the overhanging bamboo with detritus treatments did not have greater larval populations than the enclosures with only detritus. These data suggest that bamboo does not contribute to An. darlingi larval habitat attractiveness but may function as a barrier to surface water flow causing the lodging of debris, the preferred habitat, that will then attract gravid females for oviposition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-151
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Vector Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • An. darlingi
  • Bamboo
  • Belize
  • Habitat selection
  • Larval enclosures


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