Neotropical Anopheles (Kerteszia) mosquitoes associated with bromeliad-malaria transmission in a changing world

Laura Cristina Multini, André Barretto Bruno Wilke, Mauro Toledo Marrelli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Kerteszia is a neotropical subgenus of Anopheles composed of 12 species. The species in this subgenus are strongly associated with humid forests rich in epiphytic bromeliads. Forest fragmentation and anthropogenic changes can therefore have a negative impact on the abundance and survival of these mosquito species. Within this subgenus, four species are considered primary vectors of malaria: An. cruzii, An. bellator, An. homunculus and An. neivai. Malaria cases associated with Kerteszia species are often referred to as bromeliad malaria, a type of malaria reported to be endemic in the coastal rainforest of the neotropical region since the end of the nineteenth century. Although the incidence of bromeliad-malaria cases has decreased since the middle of the last century, autochthonous malaria cases continue to be registered every year. The complexity of the epidemiology of bromeliad malaria appears to be increasing as asymptomatic plasmodial infections and transmission of simian Plasmodium to humans have recently been reported. Kerteszia vector species have a great affinity for human beings and can be found in human-modified areas close to forest fragments such as in the Extra-Amazonian region of Brazil, Colombian pacific coast, and the Caribbean coast. Deforestation and forest fragmentation have been occurring continuously in the biomes of the neotropical region, and findings of Kerteszia species in dwellings are frequent in this region. Controlling the species in the Kerteszia subgenus is particularly difficult because they move frequently from natural to rural and peri-urban areas in search of blood sources, posing a challenge for the development of control strategies based on integrated vector management. Furthermore, as it has been shown that some Kerteszia species share similar morphological and genetic characteristics, the existence of a species complex formed by cryptic, sibling species within the Kerteszia group in different areas in the South and Southeast of Brazil cannot be ruled out. The existence of such a complex could represent an obstacle to the control of Kerteszia species and consequently to the elimination of bromeliad-malaria transmission in these regions. Here, we review publications that focus on the biology and ecology of Kerteszia malaria vectors and their association with human-modified areas and bromeliad-malaria transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105413
JournalActa Tropica
StatePublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Anopheles cruzii
  • Anthropogenic changes
  • Forest fragmentation
  • Malaria transmission
  • Malaria vectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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