Studies were conducted between May and June, 2006 to investigate the environmental factors affecting the distribution of An. arabiensis Patton and Culex quinquefasciatus Say in Mwea, Kenya. The sampling unit comprised all nonpaddy aquatic habitats and ten randomly selected paddies and canals located within a 200 m radius from the periphery of the study site. Thirteen physico-chemical variables were recorded for each sampling site in each sampling occasion and a sample of mosquito larvae and other aquatic invertebrates collected. The non-paddy aquatic habitats identified included pools and marshes. Morphological identification of 1,974 mosquito larvae yielded four species dominated by Cx. quinquefasciatus (73.2%) and An. arabiensis (25.0%). Pools were associated with significantly higher Cx. quinquefasciatus larval abundance and less diversity of other aquatic invertebrates compared with other habitat types. In contrast, the abundance of An. arabiensis did not differ significantly among habitat types. Culex quinquefasciatus habitats had higher water conductivity and exhibited a higher abundance of other aquatic invertebrates than An. arabiensis habitats. Chi-square analysis indicated that the two species were more likely to coexist in the same habitats than would be expected by chance alone. Anopheles arabiensis larvae were positively associated with dissolved oxygen and adults of family Haliplidae and negatively associated with emergent vegetation and Heptageniidae larvae. Culex quinquefasciatus larvae were positively associated with dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids, Chironomidae larvae, and Microvelidae adults and negatively associated with emergent vegetation. These findings suggest that both biotic and abiotic factors play a significant role in niche partitioning among Cx. quinquefasciatus and An. arabiensis, a factor that should be considered when designing an integrated vector control program.
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