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https://www.eduzhai.net Public Health Research 2018, 8(2): 31-34 DOI: 10.5923/j.phr.20180802.01 Arthropod Communities in Phytotelmata of the Musacae, Lauraceae and Burseraceae M. Aline E. Noutcha, Onengiye Taylor Harry, Kingsley O. Isang, Samuel N. Okiwelu* Entomology and Pest management Unit, Department of Animal and Environmental Biology, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria Abstract Larval source management (LSM) has been advocated as an additional strategy for malaria and lymphatic filariasis control in West Africa. Elimination of all potential breeding sites could significantly reduce the number of infective bites per person per year (Entomological Inoculation Rate, EIR), thereby reducing malaria and filariasis transmissions. Earlier studies showed that phytotelmata were one of the breeding sites of Anopheles gambiae s.l. and Culex quinquefasciatus in rural lowland rainforest of Rivers State, Nigeria. Studies were undertaken to determine the arthropod communities in the leaf axils of Musa paradisica (banana), Musa sapientum (plantain), the tree holes of Persea gratissima (avocado pear) and Dacryodes eludis (African pear). These are widely distributed species in rural lowland rainforest, Rivers State, Nigeria. Pasteur pipettes were used to stir and withdraw fluids. Specimens were sorted and identified by standard keys. Arthropod communities in leaf axils of M. paradisica and M. sapientum consisted of two classes (Arachnida and Insecta) and two insect orders (Diptera and Hymenoptera). The order Diptera was represented by one family, Culicidae, consisting of 3 genera: Toxorhynchites, Culex and Anopheles. The dominant genus was Toxorhynchites and the least was Anopheles. Arthropod communities in P. gratissima and D. eludis were restricted to the class Insecta in three orders: Diptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera. There were three families (Culicidae, Chironomidae and Tipulidae) in the Diptera and one each in Hemiptera and Hymenoptera. Toxorhynchites population was highest, closely followed by Culex. These results indicate that phytotelmata are preferred more by Culex than Anopheles for breeding. Keywords Larval Source Management (LSM), Culex, Anopheles, Phytotelmata, Malaria and Filariasis Elimination, Nigeria 1. Introduction The term phytotelmata was introduced by Varga [1] and later clarified by Kitching [2], as water impounded by plants. Six types (Tree holes, Leaf axils, Flowers, Modified leaves, Fallen vegetative parts such as bracts, Fallen fruit husks) have been identified [3]. Although some tree holes e.g.: the buttresses of fallen trees hold more than 5 litres of water, phytotelmata are generally small and easy to manipulate for experiments. These aquatic habitats are utilised in a variety of ways by a wide range of organisms including arthropods [4-7], microorganisms [8] and annelids [9]. The end product of research on organisms in phytotelmata is varied. The systematicist is interested in evolutionary pathways of species. The etiologist and autoecologist quantify details on the existence of a species in a habitat limited by physical and biotic factors. The community ecologist is concerned * Corresponding author: okiwelu2003@yahoo.com (Samuel N. Okiwelu) Published online at https://www.eduzhai.net Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Scientific & Academic Publishing This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY). http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ with how populations interact in trophic webs while the population ecologist quantifies the regulation of species populations. The medical entomologist investigates the availability of disease vectors, Diptera of public health importance whose larvae develop in phytotelmata [10]. The immatures of vectors of two important diseases (Malaria and Lymphatic filariasis) in West Africa have been found in phytotelmata in the lowland rainforest of Rivers and adjoining States [11-13]. While LLINs and IRS remain the backbone for malaria vector control because they can rapidly scale-up across a wide range of ecological and epidemiological settings larval Source Management (LSM) is an additional strategy for malaria control in Africa. If all the potential breeding sites were eliminated or treated, it could reduce the number of infective bites per person per year (Entomological Inoculation Rate- EIR), thereby reducing malaria transmission. In well-defined settings where it is feasible, the elimination of larval habitats can be a cost-effective and long-term solution [14-16]. Lymphatic filariasis (LF) is a major cause of acute and chronic morbidity, affecting humans in tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, Africa, the Western Pacific and some parts of the Americas. Anopheles are one of the principal vectors in West Africa while Culex 32 M. Aline E. Noutcha et al.: Arthropod Communities in Phytotelmata of the Musacae, Lauraceae and Burseraceae quinquefasciatus are urban vectors of the nocturnally periodic Wuchereria bancrofti. The problems associated with Mass Drug Administration (MDA) programmes have led to growing concerns regarding the effectiveness of using MDA alone to eliminate LF, without the inclusion of vector control [17-18]. Thus an integrated strategy involving vector control is now thought to have great potential to become an important component of the filariasis elimination strategy [19]. Recent studies on breeding sites of Anopheles gambiae s.l. (Gilles) and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say) in rural Lowland Rainforests, Mangrove Swamp Forests, Freshwater Swamp Forests and Moist Savanna Woodland in Rivers, Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom States, Nigeria, revealed that phytotelmata were also used as breeding sites for these two medically important species [11-13]. Studies were therefore undertaken to identify the arthropod communities in the leaf axils of Musa paradisiaca (plantain), Musaceae, Musa sapientum, Linn. (Banana), Musaceae and the tree holes of Persea gratissima Mill (avocado), Lauraceae and Dacryodes edulis G. Dom H.J. Lam (African pear) Burseraceae. These species are widely distributed in rural lowland rainforest, Rivers State, Nigeria. 2. Materials and Methods Study Area Two locations, Choba and Eliopanwo in Obia Akpor Local Government Area, (LGA) with geo-coordinates: latitude 4°25′- 4°50′N and longitude 6°50′- 7°15′E, Rivers State, Nigeria were selected for the study. The LGA lies in Lowland Rainforest. Methods At Eliopanwo, samples were collected from leaf axils of M. paradisica and M. sapientum. These were collected from 5plants of each species; each plant had 5-6 leaf axils. Pasteur pipettes were used to stir and withdraw 10ml of the water from each leaf axil. This was preceded by measurement of the heights of each leaf axil from the ground. Collected specimens were preserved in bottles containing 80% Ethyl alcohol. At Choba, five stands of P. gratissima and five of D. edulis were used. Each tree had 4-7 tree holes. Pasteur pipettes were used to collect 10ml of water from each tree hole. Specimens were placed in bottles containing 80% ethyl alcohol and taken to the Entomology research laboratory, Department of Animal and Environmental Biology, University of Port Harcourt. Collected specimens were identified using the keys of Gordon and Lavoipiere [20] and Service [21] in addition to the type specimens in the Insect Museum of the department of Animal and Environmental Biology, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. 3. Results Arthropod Communities in the leaf axils of M. pardisica and M. sapientum comprised of two classes (Arachnida and Insecta), represented by two insect orders (Diptera and Hymenoptera) (Table 1). The Diptera had by one family, Culicidae, comprised of 3 genera: Toxorhynchites, Culex, and Anopheles. Arthropod communities in P. gratissima and D. edulis were in one class: Insecta, represented by three orders (Diptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera). There were three families (Culicidae, Chironomidae, Tipulidae) in the Diptera and one each in Hemiptera (Veliidae) and Hymenoptera (Formicidae). The Culicidae consisted of genera: Culex, Toxorhynchites (Table 2). Table 1. Arthropod communities in the leaf axils of M. paradisica and M. sapientum Plant species M. paradisica M. sapientum Classes Arachnida Insecta Insecta Orders Diptera Hymenoptera Diptera Hymenoptera Families Acarina Culicidae Formicidae Culicidae Formicidae Genera Toxorhynchites (59) Culex (28) Anopheles (2) Toxorhynchites (99) Culex (17) Anopheles (19) Table 2. Arthropod communities in the tree holes of P. gratissima and P. edulis Plant Species P. gratissima P. eludis Class Order Insecta Diptera Insecta Hymenoptera Diptera Families Muscidae Tipulidae Culicidae Veliidae Chironomidae Culicidae Genera Toxorhynchites (48) Culex (34) Toxorhynchites (22) Public Health Research 2018, 8(2): 31-34 33 4. Discussion Diversity was apparently higher in tree holes that yielded more families and genera. In both leaf axils and tree holes, the arthropod communities were dominated by the insect order, Diptera, although Hymenopterans were also recorded in both types of microhabitats: leaf axils, tree holes. Hymenopterans are usually predators; the Hemipteran family, Veliidae is also predacious. The absence of Anopheles is not surprising because Itina et al. [13] did not record Anopheles spp. across eco-vegetational zones (Mangrove Swamp Forest, Fresh Water Swamp Forest, Lowland Rainforest, Moist Savanna Woodland) and only a few Anopheles immatures were recorded by Noutcha and Okiwelu [12] in Lowland Rainforest. Since 2010, fewer anopheline and significantly more culicines larvae were recorded by various collecting teams at the fields in Obio Akpor Local Government Area in lowland rainforest, Rivers State, Nigeria (Noutcha, Pers. Com; unpublished data). Culex spp. were recorded in phytotelmata by Okiwelu and Noutcha [11] in lowland rainforest and Itina et al. [13] recorded Aedes spp. in phytotelmata across eco-vegetational zones in contiguous Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Culicid immatures have developed different feeding techniques that make it possible for them to co-exist in a habitat with limited resources. Anopheles primarily filter-feed at the water surface by rotating their heads 180° so that the oral opening becomes dorsal. Many Aedes Ochlorotatus and Culex on the other hand, filter-feed near the surface, but also gather, scrape or shred organic matter at the bottom, depending on food availability. Coquilletidia and Mansonia which are anchored on vegetation, use filter-feeding, gathering and scraping techniques within their immediate surroundings [21]. Larval feeding was reviewed by Merritt et al. [22]. Predators grasp insects and other small mobile prey in their large and sharp mandibles or maxillae (e.g.: some Psorophara) or with long, curved, palatal brushes (e.g.: Toxorhynchites) [10]; most species use more than one of these techniques. Kweka et al. [24] showed that there was no significant competitive advantage in the co-habitation of Anopheles gambiae s.s. and Culex quinquefasciatus, although wing lengths (a proxy measure of body size) of Anopheles gambiae s.s. in co-habitation treatments were significantly shorter in both males and females than in An. gambiae s.s. single treatments. Formicoids and mites had also been found in bromeliad phytotelmata [10]. Among the Chironomidae, the feeding habits are diverse: case-making feeders on microorganisms, free-living detritivores, algivores and predators. Remarkably, larvae of five species were found in axils of a single Aechmea paniculigera (Swartz) [10]. Like mosquitoes of the genus Toxorhynthites, veliids include species that develop in tree holes as recorded. They often occur in aggregations in bromeliads, which was not observed in this study. Toxorhynchites larvae differ from nymphs of veliids by being cannibalistic under certain conditions [10]. Anopheles spp. are vectors of the causative agents of malaria, filariasis, etc. in West Africa while Culex spp. are vectors of urban filariasis. Many areas free of Culex spp., especially Culex quinquefasciatus are now being colonized [25]. While LLINs and IRS remain the backbone of malaria control as they can be rapidly scaled-up across a wide range of ecological and epidemiological settings, larval source management (LSM) is an additional strategy for malaria control in Africa. Unlike LLINs and IRS which target adult mosquitoes, LSM targets the immature aquatic stage (larvae and pupae) thereby reducing the abundance of adult vectors. If all potential breeding sites were eliminated or treated, it could reduce the number of infective bites per person per year (Entomological Inoculation Rate), thereby reducing transmission [14]. Integrated approach to vector management (IVM), use of LLINs, IRS and larviciding have also been recommended by the World Bank [26]. An important component of larviciding is an accurate knowledge of the breeding sites of major malaria vectors. The problems associated with Mass Drug Administration (MDA) programmes have led to growing concerns regarding the effectiveness of using MDA alone to eliminate Lf without including vector control [18, 19]. This is especially pertinent, given that vector control was once advocated as the primary tool to control filariasis and the approach was feasible in some environmental settings [19]. Thus an integrated strategy involving vector control is now thought to have great potential to become an important supplementary component of the filariasis elimination strategy [19]. Phytotelmata should always be considered as potential breeding sites in the integrated vector management of malaria and filariasis. Nicolas et al. [27] controlled Culex quinquefasciatus by the use of bacillus sphaericus. The predatory Toxorhynchites, formicoids and Veliids may be considered as potential agents for the regulation of Culex and Anopheles immatures. REFERENCES [1] Varga L. 1928. Ein interassanter Biotop der Biocenose von waterorganismen. Biologisches Zewralbatt 48: 143-162. [2] Kitching R.L. 1971. An Ecological study of water® HED. Tree Holes and their position in the woodland ecosystem. Journal of Animal Ecology 40: 281-302 (81). [3] Yanoviak S.P. 2001. The macrofauna of water-filled tree holes on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Biotropica 33: 110120. [4] Fish D. 1983. 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[24] Kweka Eliningaya J., Zhou Goula, Beilhe Leila B., Dixit Amruta, Afrane Yaw, Gilbreath Thomas M. III Munga Stephen, Nyindo Mramba, Githeko Andrew K, Yan Guiyan. Effects of cohabitation between Anopheles gambiae s.s. and Culex quinquefasciatus aquatic stages on life history traits. Parasites and Vectors 5: 33-42. [25] Chavasse D.C., Lines J.D., Ichimori K., Marijani J. 1995. Mosquito control in Dar Es Salaam-I-Assessment of Culex quinquefasciatus breeding sites to intervention. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 9: 141-146. [26] Barat L. M. 2006. Four malaria success stories: how Malaria burden was successfully reduced in Brazil, India and Vietnam. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 74: 12-16. [27] Nicolas L., Dossou-Yovo J., Hougard J-M. 1987. Persistence and recycling of Bacillus sphaericus 23 62 spores in Culex quinquefasciatus breeding sites in West Africa. Applied Microbial Biotechnology 25: 341-345.

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