Field assessments in western Kenya link malaria vectors to environmentally disturbed habitats during the dry season

This article reports on the ecological and socioeconomic factors contributing to a malaria epidemic in western Kenya. Investigations showed that brick-making pits were a primary habitat for Anopheles mosquito larvae. By contrast, vegetation and older habitats, including abandoned brick-making pits, had higher levels of predator diversity and lower mosquito density. Further research showed that houses close to brick-making sites had malaria vectors, whereas those next to swamps did not. The authors conclude that brick-making generates dry season habitats for malaria vectors, facilitating the spread of malaria when habitats become more plentiful in the wet season. The link between increased biodiversity and lower mosquito density is highlighted. The authors argue that functional brick-making pits are kept at a low stage of biological succession, with fewer species of plants and animals, including vital predators.