Darwin's northern suburbs border an extensive coastal reed and upper mangrove wetland recognized as an important larval habitat for Aedes vigilax (Skuse), the northern salt marsh mosquito, an established vector for Ross River and Barmah Forest viruses and an appreciable pest species. We sought to identify the most important vegetation categories associated with Ae. vigilax breeding to maximize the efficiency of mosquito control efforts. Using a generalized linear model with negative binominal distribution and log link, this study compares larval densities, determined by focused dipping, between 13 discernable vegetation categories. The incidence rate ratios (RR) generated can be used to compare the magnitude of larval densities for each vegetation category, compared with the reference category. Aedes vigilax larval densities were almost ten times greater in artificial drainage areas (RR=9.82), followed by tide-affected reticulate (Sporobolus/Xerochloa) areas (RR=8.15), then Schoenoplectus/mangroves (RR=2.29), compared with the reference vegetation category ‘lower mangroves.’ Furthermore, larval densities were highest in May, due to tidal inundation, for drainage areas and tide-affected reticulates (RR= 12.2, 11.7, respectively) compared with March, the reference month. Thus, to maximize the efficiency of aerial salt marsh mosquito control operations in this wetland, larval control is best accomplished by concentrating on drains, Schoenoplectus/mangroves, and tide-affected reticulate areas, commencing early after the wet season. These results should apply to other areas of salt marsh mosquito breeding across northern Australia.
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