Ochlerotatus albifasciatus (Macquart) is a flood water mosquito whose highest density has been found associated both with natural landscapes (prairies or grazing fields) in temperate and subtropical regions and with rainfall events. In the current study, we aimed to find out how the marked differences between environmental factors of agricultural landscape patches in a steppe arid region affect the relative abundance of this species. In wetland patches, the high activity of adults was closely associated with the flood irrigation system, suggesting that the agricultural activity contributes to the proliferation of this mosquito. The steppe patches would constitute an adverse environment reflected by the abrupt decrease in abundance. Multiple linear regression showed that some explanatory variables, such as wetland patches and moment of the day (midday), did not contribute significantly to the relative abundance variation. In contrast, temperature, wind, and cloud cover seemed to regulate the biting activity of females. Temperature affected the activity of mosquitoes in the steppe but seemed to have no effect in wetland patches, where the activity of mosquitoes was permanent and more stable against changes in temperature. In the steppe, which presents low levels of humidity, scarce vegetation, and greater wind exposure, the activity seemed to be unstable against small thermal variations. The variability of the relative abundance of Oc. albifasciatus in an agricultural landscape was widely explained by temperature in combination with the microenvironment type, wind speed, and cloud cover and indirectly by human activity.
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Vol. 51 • No. 4