Anopheles gambiae (sensu stricto) summary
Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto (s.s) is one of eight morphologically indistinguishable species within the Anopheles gambiae species complex1, which is also known as the An. gambiae sensu lato (s.l) complex. Although morphologically identical, the species in the complex vary in distribution, ecology and vector competence2. Anopheles gambiae (s.s) is a principle malaria vector within the complex, alongside An. arabiensis, due to their highly anthropophilic nature3.

While Anopheles gambiae (s.s) is the most efficient malaria vector within the complex4, one of the morphologically identical species within the complex, Anopheles quadriannulatus, is not classed as a malaria vector at all.  This is important in terms of implementing vector control programmes, as resources need to be targeted towards the main vectors.

Anopheles gambiae (s.s) has a large distribution across sub Saharan Africa, stretching from Guinea Bissau south to Angola, and across to Tanzania and Mozambique5. The phenotypically complex species has undergone the process of speciation into two molecular forms, S and M, previously collectively knowns as An. Gambiae (s.s) Giles. The two forms differ in their behavioural plasticity towards breeding site selection6. The S form, which has retained the name An. Gambiae (s.s) Giles, typically prefers to oviposit in temporary or puddles occurring after rainfall, whereas the M form, now known as An. Coluzzii, prefers flooded areas or more permanent sites such as rice fields5,6.

While some exceptions exist, adult Anopheles gambiae (s.s) primarily bite indoors at night time, making them a highly efficient vector5.