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Anopheles (Anopheles) barbirostris species complex

Studies indicate that Anopheles barbirostris is a complex of three to five sibling species.

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Habitats

Anopheles barbirostris is generally found in highland areas but in western Timor it is considered a coastal species. Larvae can occupy a great variety of aquatic habitats throughout the range of the complex. Anopheles barbirostris s.l. is a swamp breeder, typically found in deep fresh water that is still or slow moving. However, it is not uncommon in or near rice fields and is tolerant of relatively high levels of organic pollution including sewage, and can be found in ground pools with high concentrations of animal dung. Other habitats vary from sunlit to moderately shaded ground-water bodies, including river and stream margins and pools, ditches, moats, lakes, permanent and temporary ground pools, rice fields, wells, canals, marshes, rock pools, ponds, springs, swamps and animal footprints. Habitats usually contain some vegetation.

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Resting and feeding preferences

Females of An. barbirostris s.l. bite humans but generally prefer to feed on other animals, especially bovids. Feeding apparently takes place outdoors, but adults have been collected resting inside houses and animal shelters as well as outside. Outdoor biting in peninsular Malaysia near the Thai border takes place throughout the night.

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Vectorial capacity

Anopheles barbirostris is considered an important vector of malaria in Sulawesi, Flores and Timor whereas it appears to be a non-vector in other regions. A recent survey in northern Sumatra identified An. barbirostris as a potential vector of malaria, and it has been reported that either An. barbirostris or An. campestris Reid (these species could not be reliably distinguished) is a probable vector of malaria in Sa Kaeo Province of Thailand. An. barbirostris s.l. is a confirmed vector of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Sri Lanka and Timor-Leste. Both Plasmodium vivax and P. falciparum have been detected in females of An. barbirostris s.l. in Bangladesh, but it is not known definitively whether this species can act as a vector for both. In view of the feeding preferences and behaviour of females, An. barbirostris s.s. probably plays little, if any, role in the transmission of malaria in most areas where it occurs.

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Further details and the sources for this text can be found in

Sinka, M.E., Bangs, M.J, Manguin, S., Chareonviriyaphap, T., Patil, A.P., Temperley, W.H., Gething, P.W., Elyazar, I.R.F., Kabaria, C.W., Harbach, R.E. and Hay, S.I. (2011). The dominant Anopheles vectors of human malaria in the Asia-Pacific region: occurrence data, distribution maps and bionomic précis. Parasites and Vectors 4: 89