The distribution of Anopheles gambiae
and An. arabiensis
across the ecological zones of Nigeria (arid savanna in the north gradually turns into humid forest in the south) was investigated. Results of the present study were compared to the distributions determined from samples of indoor-resting females reported by an earlier study over 20 years ago. Larvae were sampled in the rainy seasons of 1997 and 1999 from 24 localities, 10 of which were sampled in both years. Specimens were identified by the polymerase chain reaction method. Results showed that species composition changed significantly among the 10 localities in both years (c2
=13.62, P = 0.0002), but this change was significant in only four of the 10 localities. The identity of the prevalent (more abundant) species changed between 1997 and 1999 in only three of 10 localities. An. arabiensis
was prevalent in several localities in the southern Guinea savanna, an area where it was virtually absent over 20 years ago. The data suggest that An. arabiensis
has extend its range, although differences in sampling technique (larval sampling versus adult collection) can not be ruled out as a possible explanation.