We studied the oviposition site preference and egg hatchability of Anopheles gambiae Giles with water collected from farmlands, forests, and natural wetlands. Water types significantly affected oviposition preference. Mosquitoes deposited significantly more eggs in rainwater in both the dry and wet seasons than waters from forests and wetlands, suggesting that An. gambiae prefers water with few impurities for oviposition. In the dry season, An. gambiae females also deposited significantly more eggs in waters from farmlands than those from forests and natural wetlands, but these differences were not statistically significant during the wet season. In both indoor and natural conditions, egg mortality in natural wetland habitats was significantly higher than in farmland habitats. The average water temperature in natural wetland habitats was significantly lower than farmland habitats in the natural conditions, but it remained the same under indoor experimental conditions, suggesting that factors other than water temperature play an important role in egg hatchability. Together with the findings from previous studies on the effects of land cover on larval survivorship, our results support the hypothesis that variations in habitat conditions induced by different land cover types contribute to the heterogeneous spatial distribution of An. gambiae larvae in the western Kenya highland.
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Vol. 42 • No. 6