The impact of the rapid expansion of rubber plantations in South-East Asia on mosquito populations is uncertain. We compared the abundance and diversity of adult mosquitoes using human-baited traps in four typical rural habitats in northern Lao PDR: secondary forests, immature rubber plantations, mature rubber plantations, and villages. Generalized estimating equations were used to explore differences in mosquito abundance between habitats, and Simpson's diversity index was used to measure species diversity. Over nine months, 24,927 female mosquitoes were collected, including 51 species newly recorded in Lao PDR. A list of the 114 mosquito species identified is included. More mosquitoes, including vector species, were collected in the secondary forest than immature rubber plantations (rainy season, odds ratio [OR] 0.33, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.31-0.36; dry season, 0.46, 95% CI 0.41-0.51), mature rubber plantations (rainy season, OR 0.25, 95% CI 0.23-0.27; dry season, OR 0.25, 95% CI 0.22-0.28), and villages (rainy season, OR 0.13, 95% CI 0.12-0.14; dry season, 0.20, 95% CI 0.18-0.23). All habitats showed high species diversity (Simpson's indexes between 0.82-0.86) with vectors of dengue, Japanese encephalitis (JE), lymphatic filariasis, and malaria. In the secondary forests and rubber plantations, Aedes albopictus (Skuse), a dengue vector, was the dominant mosquito species, while in the villages, Culex vishnui (Theobald), a JE vector, was most common. This study has increased the overall knowledge of mosquito fauna in Lao PDR. The high abundance of Ae. albopictus in natural and man-made forests warrants concern, with vector control measures currently only implemented in cities and villages.
Keywords: Lao People’s Democratic Republic; mosquito fauna; mosquito population dynamics; rubber plantation.
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