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Larval habitat characteristics and predicting the distribution of Culex tritaeniorhynchus using maximum entropy (MaxEnt) model in Golestan Province, northern Iran

1 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Institute for Futures Studies in Health, Kerman University of Medical Science, Kerman, Iran
2 Infectious Diseases Research Center, Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Gorgan, Iran
3 Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Research Center; Department of Parasitology and Mycology, Faculty of Medicine, Zahedan University of Medical Science, Zahedan, Iran

Correspondence Address:
A Sofizadeh,
Infectious Diseases Research Center, Golestan University of Medical Science, Gorgan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-9062.311780

Background & objectives: Culex tritaeniorhynchus is a widely distributed and medically important mosquito species (Diptera: Culicidae). The aim of this study was to determine the characteristics of larval habitats and predict the distribution of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus using maximum entropy (MaxEnt) model in Golestan Province, northern Iran. Methods: Overall, 53 villages and cities from the 14 counties in the Golestan Province were studied. Suitable habitats for sampling of mosquitoes were determined in the selected villages. Larval sampling was carried out 10 times using a standardized dipper (350 ml). Captured larvae in each dipper were counted and kept in special containers. Larvae were put in lactophenol and were then mounted on microscope slides prepared according to the de Fauré's formula. All villages where Cx. tritaeniorhynchus was isolated from were considered as the species presence points, and their coordinates were extracted from the GIS. The obtained data were entered into the model in Microsoft Excel 2003. Layers required for the study were obtained from the World Clim global climate database at a spatial resolution of 1 km2. The MaxEnt software (version 3.3.3) was used to predict the most suitable ecological niches of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus. Results: Out of the 5168 specimens collected from 53 villages and cities, 1097 specimens (21%) were identified as Cx. tritaeniorhynchus. The central and western areas of the province are environmental suitability areas for distribution of this species compared to other areas. Area under curve (AUC) value for Cx. tritaeniorhynchus was 0.888. Environmental variables with highest gain in the model were precipitation of wettest quarter (bio16), precipitation of coldest quarter (bio19), maximum temperature of warmest month (bio5) and slope. Interpretation & conclusion: Precipitation and temperature are important determinants of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus distribution in Golestan Province in northern Iran.

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