Lidar reveals activity anomaly of malaria vectors during pan-African eclipse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Yearly, a quarter billion people are infected and a half a million killed by the mosquito-borne disease malaria. Lack of real-time observational tools for continuously assessing the unperturbed mosquito flight activity in situ limits progress toward improved vector control. We deployed a high-resolution entomological lidar to monitor a half-kilometer static transect adjacent to a Tanzanian village. We evaluated one-third million insect observations during five nights, four days, and one annular solar eclipse. We demonstrate in situ lidar classification of several insect families and their sexes based on their modulation signatures. We were able to compare the fine-scale spatiotemporal activity patterns of malaria vectors during ordinary days and an eclipse to disentangle phototactic activity patterns from the circadian mechanism. We observed an increased insect activity during the eclipse attributable to mosquitoes. These unprecedented findings demonstrate how lidar-based monitoring of distinct mosquito activities could advance our understanding of vector ecology.


  • Mikkel Brydegaard
  • Samuel Jansson
  • Elin Malmqvist
  • Yeromin P. Mlacha
  • Alem Gebru
  • Fredros Okumu
  • Gerry F. Killeen
  • Carsten Kirkeby
External organisations
  • Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
  • University of Basel
  • Lund University
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
  • University College Cork
  • Norsk Elektro Optikk AS
  • FaunaPhotonics ApS
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Copenhagen
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaay5487
JournalScience Advances
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 13
Publication categoryResearch