A study on ecological preference of breeding sites of Anopheles gambiae compared to other mosquito species were carried out in small natural microcosms. A total of sixteen small ponds, four each from North, South, East and West of Maiduguri Metropolitan were surveyed for the breeding and non-breeding sites for mosquitoes. In each pond mosquito larvae samples were collected by dip method after identifying species by their angular positions and later confirmed by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Water samples from which collection of A. gambiae and non-Anopheles gambiae larvae were also collected and analyzed for physico-chemical properties following the standard laboratory procedures. The results revealed that, preference of breeding site of A. gambiae is dependent on the physico-chemical nature of water habitat. Of a total of 30 parameters analyzed, pairwise comparison using SPSS software revealed that 11of the physico-chemical parameters significantly varied (P<0.05) between A. gambiae and non-A. gambiae breeding sites. These parameters include Turbidity, pH, Conductivity, Temperature, Suspended solid, Sodium, Chloride, Sulphate, Calcium, Magnesium, Total hardness and Magnesium hardness. The proportion of A. gambiae in larval habitats were significantly (P<0.05) and positively correlated to these parameters. However, of the eleven parameters, PH (r = 0.429, P = 0.001), temperature (r = 0.269, P = 0.050), calcium(r = 0.256, P = 0.048) and turbidity (r = 0.515, P = 0.000), were found to be the most influential parameters that determine habitat selection for breeding.
Key words: Arid zone, ecological preference, physico-chemical, Anopheles gambiae, distribution.
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