Documented information on the ecology of larval habitats in Botswana is lacking but is critical for larval control programs. Therefore, this study determined the characteristics of these habitats and the influences of biotic and abiotic factors in Tubu village, Botswana. Eight water bodies were sampled between January and December, 2013. The aquatic vegetation and invertebrate species present were characterized. Water parameters measured were turbidity (NTU), conductivity (µS/cm), oxygen (mg/l), and pH. Larval densities of Anopheles arabiensis mosquitoes and their correlation with abiotic factors were determined. Larval breeding was associated with ‘short’ aquatic vegetation, a variety of habitats fed by both rainfall and flood waters and sites with predators and competitors. The monthly mean (± SEmean) larval density was 8.16±1.33. The monthly mean (±SEmean) pH, conductivity, oxygen, and turbidity were 7.65±0.13, 1152.834±69.171, 5.59±1.33, and 323.421±33.801, respectively. There was a significant negative correlation between larval density and conductivity (r = -0.839; p < 0.01), while a significant positive correlation occurred between turbidity and larval density (r = 0.685; p < 0.05). Oxygen (r = 0.140; p > 0.05) and pH (r = 0.252; p > 0.05) were not correlated with larval density. Floods and diversified breeding sites contributed to prolonged and prolific larval breeding. ‘Short’ aquatic vegetation and predator-infested waters offered suitable environments for larval breeding. Turbidity and conductivity were good indicators for potential breeding places and can be used as early warning indices for predicting larval production levels.
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Vol. 40 • No. 1