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Background: There is a high risk of malaria infection in Uganda due to availability of conducive conditions in breeding habitats of An. gambiae s.l., the vectors for Plasmodium, the causative agent of malaria.
Aim: The aim of this study was to determine whether the abundance and distribution of macro-invertebrates and An. gambiae s.l. are influenced by water physico-chemical parameters.
Methods: In this study, habitats were classified as ponds, streams, temporary pools and roadside ditches. From these habitats, electrical conductivity, total dissolved solids, temperature and pH were measured in-situ in the morning and afternoon between October and December 2017. Macro-invertebrates and An. gambiae s.l. larvae were sampled, preserved, morphologically identified and counted.
Results: There was a strong association between An. gambiae s.l. with land use, habitat types and water physico-chemical parameters. Baetidae, Coenagrionidae, Aeshnidae, Nepidae, Lymnaeidae and Hirudidae were highly abundant in streams. Notonectidae, Haliplidae and Elmidae were dominant in ponds while Dytiscidae, Culicidae, Chironomidae, Sphaerolichidae and An. gambiae s.l. were abundant in temporary pools. Carabidae were abundant in roadside ditches.
Conclusion: Water physico-chemical parameters, land use and habitat types influenced the abundance and distribution of macro-invertebrates including An. gambiae s.l. We recommend that studies should be conducted to establish the mechanisms through which these factors influence abundance and distribution of An. gambiae s.l. and other macro-invertebrates.