, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 313–322 | Cite as

Increased Larval Mosquito Densities from Modified Landuses in the Kapiti Region, New Zealand: Vegetation, Water Quality, and Predators as Associated Environmental Factors

  • Paul T. Leisnham
  • David P. Slaney
  • Philip J. Lester
  • Philip Weinstein
Original Contributions


Landuse changes, including deforestation, agriculture, and urbanization, have coincided with an increase in vector-borne diseases worldwide. Landuse changes may alter mosquito populations by modifying the characteristics of aquatic larval habitats, but we still poorly understand the physical, chemical, and biological factors involved. We examined a total of 81 mosquito larval habitats for immature mosquitoes and 17 environmental variables in native forest, pastureland, and urbanland, at three locations in the Kapiti region, New Zealand. Significantly higher immature mosquito densities, predominantly of the endemic species Cx. pervigilans, were collected from urbanland and pastureland compared to native forest. Urbanland and pastureland habitats were mostly artificial containers compared to ground pools in native forest. Generalized linear modeling (GLM) revealed nine environmental variables that were significantly different between landuses. Of these variables, mosquito density was significantly (positively) correlated with bacteria and dissolved organic carbon. When location and date were controlled for in GLM, mosquito density was (negatively) related to the presence of vegetation and combined predators. The findings of this study support those from prior surveys in warmer climates suggesting greater mosquito-borne disease risk in anthropogenically-modified environments because of ecosystem disruption. Unlike most previous field-based work, this study suggests that in addition to habitat type, the presence of vegetation, water quality, and predators are also associated with mosquito density and may be involved in causal mechanisms. Urban containers and stock drinking troughs had high mosquito densities, suggesting that an initial step in directing control operations should be to focus on these habitats.


anthropogenic disease-vector landscape nutrients predator temperate 


  1. Allison AD (1999) Multiple Regression: A Primer, Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, IncGoogle Scholar
  2. American Public Health Association (1992) Standard Methods for the Examination of Wastes and Wastewater, Washington DC: American Public Health AssociationGoogle Scholar
  3. Atkinson IAE, Cameron EK (1993) Human influence on the terrestrial biota and biotic communities of New Zealand. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 8:447–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Becker J (1995) Factors influencing the distribution of larval mosquitos of the genera Aedes, Culex and Toxorhynchites (Dipt., Culicidae) on Moorea. Journal of Applied Entomology 119:527–532Google Scholar
  5. Blaustein L, Kotler BP, Ward D (1995) Direct and indirect effects of a predatory backswimmer (Notonecta maculata) on community structure of desert temporary pools. Ecological Entomology 20:311–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Clements AN (2000) The Biology of Mosquitoes: Sensory Reception and Behaviour. Wallingford, UK: CABI PublishingGoogle Scholar
  7. Fish D, Carpenter SR (1982) Leaf litter and larval mosquito dynamics in tree-hole ecosystems. Ecology 63:283–288Google Scholar
  8. Graham DH (1939) Mosquito life in the Auckland District. Report of the Auckland mosquito research committee on an investigation made by David H. Graham. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand 69:210–224Google Scholar
  9. Gratz NG (1999) Emerging and resurging vector-borne diseases. Annual Review of Entomology 44:51–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kaufman MG, Goodfriend W, Kohler-Garrigan A, Walker ED, Klug MJ (2002) Soluble nutrient effects on microbial communities and mosquito production in Ochlerotatus triseriatus habitats. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 29:73–88Google Scholar
  11. Klingenburg E, Huibers F, Takken W, Toure YT (2002) Water management as a tool for malaria mosquito control. Irrigation and Drainage Systems 16:201–212Google Scholar
  12. Knudsen AB (1995) Global distribution and continuing spread of Aedes albopictus. Parassitologia 37:91–97Google Scholar
  13. Laird M (1988) The Natural History of Larval Mosquito Habitats. London: Academic Press LimitedGoogle Scholar
  14. Laird M (1990) New Zealand’s northern mosquito survey, 1988–89. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 6:287–299Google Scholar
  15. Laird M (1995) Background and findings of the 1993–94 New Zealand mosquito survey. New Zealand Entomologist 18:77–91Google Scholar
  16. Leisnham PT, Lester PJ, Slaney DP, Weinstein P (2004) Anthropogenic landscape change and vectors in New Zealand: the effects of shade and nutrient levels on mosquito productivity. EcoHealth 1:306–316; DOI: 10.1007/s10393-004-0026-5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lindblade KA, Walker ED, Onapa AW, Katungu J, Wilson ML (2000) Land use change alters malaria transmission parameters by modifying temperature in a highland area of Uganda. Tropical Medicine and International Health 5:263–274Google Scholar
  18. Maclean C (1988) Waikanae: Past and Present. Waikanae, New Zealand: Whitcombe PressGoogle Scholar
  19. Maguire T, Miles JAR, Casals J (1967) Whataroa virus, a group A arbovirus isolated in South Westland, New Zealand. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 16:371–373Google Scholar
  20. McIntyre NE, (2000) Ecology of urban arthropods: a review and a call to action. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 93:825–835Google Scholar
  21. Merritt RW, Dadd RH, Walker ED (1992) Feeding-behavior, natural food, and nutritional relationships of larval mosquitoes. Annual Review of Entomology 37:349–376Google Scholar
  22. Miles JAR, (1973) The ecology of the Whataroa virus, an alphavirus, in South Westland, New Zealand. Journal of Hygiene 73:701–713Google Scholar
  23. Moloney JM, Skelly C, Weinstein P, Maguire M, Ritchie S (1998) Domestic Aedes aegypti breeding site surveillance: limitations of remote sensing as a predictive surveillance tool. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 59:261–264Google Scholar
  24. Murdoch WW, Scott MA, Ebsworth P (1984) Effects of the general predator, Notonecta (Hemiptera) upon a freshwater community. Journal of Animal Ecology 53:791–808Google Scholar
  25. Norris DE (2004) Mosquito-bourne diseases as a consequence of land use change. EcoHealth 1:19–24; DOI: 10.1007/s10393-004-0008-7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Patz JA, Graczyk TK, Geller N, Vittor AY (2000) Effects of environmental change on emerging parasitic diseases. International Journal for Parasitology 30:1395–1405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Patz JA, Daszak P, Tabor GM, Aguirre AA, Pearl M, Epstein J, et al. (2004) Unhealthy landscapes: policy recommendations on land use change and infectious disease emergence. Environmental Health Perspectives 112:1092–1098CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sala OE, Chapin FS, Armesto JJ, Berlow E, Bloomfield J, Dirzo R, et al. (2000) Biodiversity—global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287:1770–1774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Service MW, (1991) Agricultural development and arthropod borne diseases: a review. Revista De Saude Publica 25:165–178Google Scholar
  30. Service MW (1995) Mosquito Ecology: Field Sampling Methods. London: Chapman and HallGoogle Scholar
  31. Tauil PL (2001) Urbanization and dengue ecology. Cadernos de Saude Publica S17:99–102Google Scholar
  32. Vitousek PM, Mooney HA, Lubchenco J, Melillo JM (1997) Human domination of Earth’s ecosystems. Science 277:494–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Walsh JF, Molyneux DH, Birley MH (1993) Deforestation: effects on vector-borne disease. Parasitology 106:S55–S75Google Scholar
  34. Watson TM, Kay BH (1998) Vector competence of Aedes notoscriptus (Diptera: Culicidae) for Ross River virus in Queensland, Australia. Journal of Medical Entomology 35:104–106Google Scholar
  35. Weinstein P, Laird M, Browne G (1997) Exotic and Endemic Mosquitoes in New Zealand as Potential Arbovirus Vectors, Wellington, NewZealand: Ministry of Health. Available: http://www. Publications-Online+Publica- tions+Contents [accessed March 8, 2004]
  36. Wetzel RG, Hatcher PG, Bianchi TS (1995) Natural photolysis by ultraviolet irradiance of recalcitrant dissolved organic matter to simple substrates for rapid bacterial metabolism. Limnology and Oceanography 40:1369–1380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. WHO (1982) Mosquitos, mosquito-borne disease and mosquito control methods: a review. In: Manual on Environmental Management for Mosquito Control with Special Emphasis on Malaria Vectors, Geneva: World Health Organisation, pp 11–22Google Scholar
  38. Winterbourn MJ, Gregson KLD, Dolphin CH (2000) Guide to the aquatic insects of New Zealand. Bulletin of the Entomological Society of New Zealand 13:1–102Google Scholar
  39. Zar JH (1999) Biostatistical Analysis. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall International LtdGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© EcoHealth Journal Consortium 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul T. Leisnham
    • 1
    • 2
  • David P. Slaney
    • 1
    • 3
  • Philip J. Lester
    • 4
  • Philip Weinstein
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Ecology and Health Research Centre, Department of Public Health, Wellington School of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of OtagoNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Biological Sciences, Behavior, Ecology, Evolution and Systematics SectionIllinois State UniversityNormal
  3. 3.Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd.PoriruaNew Zealand
  4. 4.School of Biological SciencesVictoria University of WellingtonNew Zealand
  5. 5.School of Population HealthUniversity of Western AustraliaAustralia

Personalised recommendations