Mathematical modelling of mosquito dispersal in a heterogeneous environment

Angelina Mageni Lutambi, Melissa A. Penny, Thomas Smith, Nakul Chitnis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Mosquito dispersal is a key behavioural factor that affects the persistence and resurgence of several vector-borne diseases. Spatial heterogeneity of mosquito resources, such as hosts and breeding sites, affects mosquito dispersal behaviour and consequently affects mosquito population structures, human exposure to vectors, and the ability to control disease transmission. In this paper, we develop and simulate a discrete-space continuous-time mathematical model to investigate the impact of dispersal and heterogeneous distribution of resources on the distribution and dynamics of mosquito populations. We build an ordinary differential equation model of the mosquito life cycle and replicate it across a hexagonal grid (multi-patch system) that represents two-dimensional space. We use the model to estimate mosquito dispersal distances and to evaluate the effect of spatial repellents as a vector control strategy. We find evidence of association between heterogeneity, dispersal, spatial distribution of resources, and mosquito population dynamics. Random distribution of repellents reduces the distance moved by mosquitoes, offering a promising strategy for disease control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-216
Number of pages19
JournalMathematical Biosciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


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