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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Ecology of Anopheles darlingi Root with respect to vector importance: a review

Hélène Hiwat12* and Gustavo Bretas3

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University and Research Centre, PO Box 8031, 6700 EH Wageningen, The Netherlands

2 Malaria Program, Ministry of Health Suriname, c/o Bureau of Public Health Suriname, Rode Kruislaan 13, Paramaribo, Suriname

3 Calle Dalia 20 los Parques, Los Ceibos, Guayaquil, Ecuador

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Parasites & Vectors 2011, 4:177  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-177

Published: 16 September 2011

Abstract

Anopheles darlingi is one of the most important malaria vectors in the Americas. In this era of new tools and strategies for malaria and vector control it is essential to have knowledge on the ecology and behavior of vectors in order to evaluate appropriateness and impact of control measures. This paper aims to provide information on the importance, ecology and behavior of An. darlingi. It reviews publications that addressed ecological and behavioral aspects that are important to understand the role and importance of An. darlingi in the transmission of malaria throughout its area of distribution. The results show that Anopheles darlingi is especially important for malaria transmission in the Amazon region. Although numerous studies exist, many aspects determining the vectorial capacity of An. darlingi, i.e. its relation to seasons and environmental conditions, its gonotrophic cycle and longevity, and its feeding behavior and biting preferences, are still unknown. The vector shows a high degree of variability in behavioral traits. This makes it difficult to predict the impact of ongoing changes in the environment on the mosquito populations. Recent studies indicate a good ability of An. darlingi to adapt to environments modified by human development. This allows the vector to establish populations in areas where it previously did not exist or had been controlled to date. The behavioral variability of the vector, its adaptability, and our limited knowledge of these impede the establishment of effective control strategies. Increasing our knowledge of An. darlingi is necessary.