Skip to main content


Trainee develops model for mosquito larval growth

Trainee Achievements

Trainee develops model for mosquito larval growth

Tim Antonelli developed a biologically accurate model for mosquito larval growth using Iquitos, Peru, as a case study. Dengue infects 50 to 100 million people each year and is currently the world’s fastest growing tropical disease. There is no treatment or vaccine available, so control efforts focus on the virus’s primary mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti. Skeeter Buster is a detailed mathematical model developed to predict the response of an Ae. aegypti population in Iquitos to various control strategies. However, the model consistently overestimates both the proportion of containers with larvae present and the abundance of larvae found in the field, due to an incomplete understanding of food availability and its impact on larval growth. Tim conducted an experiment in Iquitos which allowed him to obtain maximum-likelihood estimates of parameters governing food accumulation and larval growth which he then applied to the Skeeter Buster equations, resulting in a more accurate model.