Diversity of Mosquito Species in Natural Water-Filled Plant Containers

Jenn Hoskins
7th May, 2024

Diversity of Mosquito Species in Natural Water-Filled Plant Containers

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Study on Car Nicobar Island finds diverse mosquito species in natural plant water containers
  • Mosquitoes that can spread malaria, dengue, and filariasis were among the species identified
  • Different mosquito species showed preferences for specific breeding sites, like root holes or bamboo stumps
Mosquitoes are not just summer nuisances; they are vectors for some of the world's most deadly diseases, including malaria, dengue, and filariasis. Understanding where mosquitoes breed can help in developing targeted strategies to control their populations and the diseases they carry. One key to this understanding lies in the study of phytotelmata—natural water-holding structures in plants that serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. A recent study by the ICMR - Regional Medical Research Centre[1] has shed light on the role of phytotelmata in mosquito breeding on Car Nicobar Island. Researchers investigated approximately 750 natural containers like tree holes, root holes, leaf axils, and bamboo stumps across 16 different locations. They found a staggering diversity of mosquito species, with larvae numbers in these water bodies varying from a mere 0.003 to as high as 3.833 per 10 ml of water. Among the 16 mosquito species identified were vectors of malaria (Anopheles sundaicus), dengue (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus), and filariasis (Culex quinquefasciatus). This discovery has significant implications for public health on the island. Coconut trees, Java apple trees, and bamboo stumps were the most common phytotelmata, with Aedes edwardsi being the most widespread mosquito species found. The study revealed that Anopheles mosquitoes, which can transmit malaria, were predominantly breeding in root holes, whereas Aedes and Culex species favored bamboo stumps. The biodiversity indices calculated by the researchers indicated a high diversity of the mosquito population in Car Nicobar Island, with tree holes showing the highest diversity, as all 16 species were collected from them. This research not only highlights the diversity of mosquito species on Car Nicobar Island but also underscores the importance of these natural habitats in the life cycle of mosquitoes. The findings suggest that control measures should consider these natural breeding sites to effectively reduce the mosquito population and the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. The study's findings resonate with earlier research in temperate South America[2], which also found that phytotelmata are critical habitats for various mosquito species, including disease vectors. The Argentinean study found a lower richness of mosquito species in temperate phytotelmata compared to tropical regions, but the plant specificity patterns were similar. In Kenya, a study in the Mwea Rice Scheme[3] identified diverse aquatic habitats for culicine mosquitoes, dominated by Culex quinquefasciatus. The research highlighted the importance of various water bodies in mosquito larval production and the need to tailor mosquito control strategies to local environmental conditions. Similarly, an entomological survey in northeastern India[4] showed the breeding preference of the forest breeder malaria vector Anopheles baimaii in various habitats. This study emphasized the correlation between mosquito breeding sites and malaria occurrence, which is a critical factor for malaria control programs. The Car Nicobar study builds upon these earlier findings, providing a comprehensive overview of the complex relationship between mosquitoes and their breeding habitats in a specific tropical region. It emphasizes the need for site-specific vector control strategies that consider the diverse breeding preferences of different mosquito species. By understanding the breeding habits of mosquitoes, particularly in natural habitats like phytotelmata, health authorities can develop more effective strategies for mosquito control. These strategies can range from environmental management, such as removing or treating water in phytotelmata, to biological control measures. The ultimate goal is to reduce the risk of mosquito-borne diseases, which remains a significant public health challenge in many parts of the world.



Main Study

1) Biodiversity of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) in phytotelmata from Car Nicobar Island, India.

Published 6th May, 2024


Related Studies

2) Mosquito community structure in phytotelmata from a South American temperate wetland.


3) Spatiotemporal dynamics of immature culicines (subfamily Culicinae) and their larval habitats in Mwea Rice Scheme, Kenya.


4) Studies on the breeding habitats of the vector mosquito Anopheles baimai and its relationship to malaria incidence in Northeastern region of India. Breeding habitats of Anopheles baimai and its role in incidence of malaria in Northeastern region of India.


Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload đź—™