Mosquito-borne avian diseases, principally avian malaria (Plasmodium relictum Grassi and Feletti) and avian pox (Avipoxvirus sp.) have been implicated as the key limiting factor associated with recent declines of endemic avifauna in the Hawaiian Island archipelago. We present data on the relative abundance, infection status, and spatial distribution of the primary mosquito vector Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae) across a mixed, residential-agricultural community adjacent to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park on Hawai'i Island. We modeled the effect of agriculture and forest fragmentation in determining relative abundance of adult Cx. quinquefasciatus in Volcano Village, and we implement our statistical model in a geographic information system to generate a probability of mosquito capture prediction surface for the study area. Our model was based on biweekly captures of adult mosquitoes from 20 locations within Volcano Village from October 2001 to April 2003. We used mixed effects logistic regression to model the probability of capturing a mosquito, and we developed a set of 17 competing models a priori to specifically evaluate the effect of agriculture and fragmentation (i.e., residential landscapes) at two spatial scales. In total, 2,126 mosquitoes were captured in CO 2-baited traps with an average probability of 0.27 (SE = 0.10) of capturing one or more mosquitoes per trap night. Twelve percent of mosquitoes captured were infected with P. relictum. Our data indicate that agricultural lands and forest fragmentation significantly increase the probability of mosquito capture. The prediction surface identified areas along the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park boundary that may have high relative abundance of the vector. Our data document the potential of avian malaria transmission in residential-agricultural landscapes and support the need for vector management that extends beyond reserve boundaries and considers a reserve's spatial position in a highly heterogeneous landscape.
Additional publication details
Landscape factors influencing the spatial distribution and abundance of mosquito vector Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) in a mixed residential-agricultural community in Hawai'i