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Global warming may affect the future pattern of many arthropod-borne diseases, yet the relationship between temperature and development has been poorly described for many key vectors. Here the development of the aquatic stages of Africa's principal malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae s.s. Giles, is described at different temperatures. Development time from egg to adult was measured under laboratory conditions at constant temperatures between 10 and 40°C. Rate of development from one immature stage to the next increased at higher temperatures to a peak around 28°C and then declined. Adult development rate was greatest between 28 and 32°C, although adult emergence was highest between 22 and 26°C. No adults emerged below 18°C or above 34°C. Non-linear models were used to describe the relationship between developmental rate and temperature, which could be used for developing process-based models of malaria transmission. The utility of these findings is demonstrated by showing that a map where the climate is suitable for the development of aquatic stages of A. gambiae s.s. corresponded closely with the best map of malaria risk currently available for Africa.
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