Anopheles arabiensis summary
Anopheles arabiensis is a major malaria vector within the Anopheles gambiae species complex. It is found across sub-Saharan Africa and on surrounding islands[1].

Anopheles arabiensis has a wide range, extending north into the Sahel and south into the steppe of Namibia. Research has found thisspecies to be more tolerant to arid conditions than other Anopheles within the gambiae complex. It is also absent from humid and forested areas of west Africa[2]. The species has a number of behavioural and physiological mechanisms to withstand dryer conditions. Adult females may lay eggs on damp surfaces rather than in water, with hatching often delayed in a number of eggs. Females also enter a torpor-like dormant state during periods of continued dryness. They also seek dry-season refugia where they remain before colonizing other sites at the beginning of the rainy season[3].

Larval site characteristics can include sunlit, fresh, clear, still or flowing water bodies with plants or algae, and sometimes without vegetation[2].

Anopheles arabiensis is recognised as a highly zoophilic species, although this depends on location, host availability and local genotype. There is evidence to suggest behavioural inconsistencies in host preference between east and West African populations, whereby those in the east are more antropophilic and endophagic, and those in the west are more zoophilic and exophilic. However, it remains a principal vector of malaria within the complex[2, 3].


  1. Drake JM, Beier JC. Ecological niche and potential distribution of Anopheles arabiensis in Africa in 2050. Malaria journal. 2014 Dec;13(1):213.

  2. Sinka ME. Global distribution of the dominant vector species of malaria. InAnopheles mosquitoes-New insights into malaria vectors 2013 Jul 24. IntechOpen.

  3. Lindsay SW, Parson L, Thomas CJ. Mapping the range and relative abundance of the two principal African malaria vectors, Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto and An. arabiensis, using climate data. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences. 1998 May 22;265(1399):847-54.