Relative abundance of mosquitoes and snails associated with water hyacinth and hippo grass in the Nyanza gulf of Lake Victoria

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This study was conducted from September to December 2008 to investigate the relative abundance of malaria vectors and schistosomiasis host snails associated with aquatic weeds in Nyanza Gulf (Lake Victoria). Larval and adult’s stages of mosquitoes, lakeflies and snails were collected and identified with standard entomological and malacological techniques. The relative species composition and abundance of fish associated with macrophytes were also determined. Physico-chemical parameters were determined with standard analytical methods. Community-based surveys were also conducted, using standard questionnaires, focused group discussions and direct observations. The results of this study indicated that the abundance of malaria-causing mosquitoes was low, accounting for only 0.4% of the total number of mosquitoes and lake flies collected from the gulf. Lake flies (Chaoborus and Chironomus spp.) were the most abundant flying insects associated with aquatic macrophytes (84.2%), followed by Culicines Culex spp. (12.2%) and Aedes spp. mosquitoes (3.2%). Biomphalaria sudanica and Bulinus africanus, the two most common hosts for schistosomiasis in the gulf, were detected in both types of macrophytes, but were most significantly attached to water hyacinth (P < 0.0001) and hippo grass (P = 0.0003). There were significantly fewer snails attached to the hippo grass, compared with those unattached in the open water (P < 0.05, GENMOD). Different habitats exhibited low Secchi disc transparency values, but elevated total phosphorous (TP), total nitrogen (TN), chlorophyll-a concentrations, as well as algal cell counts. Furthermore, Oreochromis niloticus and Haplochromine fishes were more abundant in water hyacinth mats compared with hippo grass mats and open-water habitats. The low mosquito abundance indicated that the sampled habitats were unsuitable for mosquito breeding, likely attributable to water turbulence and/or predation by larvivorous fish. The strong association between B. sudanica and B. africanus and aquatic macrophytes, and the observation that local communities perform many lakeshore-related activities that bring them into contact with water, can potentially lead to a higher prevalence of schistosomiasis in the Nyanza Gulf region.
Ofulla, A. & Karanja, Diana & Omondi, Reuben & Okurut, T. & Matano, A. & Jembe, Tsuma & Abila, Richard & Boera, Priscilla & Gichuki, John. (2010). Relative abundance of mosquitoes and snails associated with water hyacinth and hippo grass in the Nyanza gulf of Lake Victoria. Lakes & Reservoirs: Research & Management. 15. 255 - 271. 10.1111/j.1440-1770.2010.00434.x.