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Name:              Canute Pancras Mutebi Khamala, B. Sc. (Liverpool), Ph.D. (Univ. E. A.), FRES (Lond.), FKNAS, EBS, PROFESSOR OF ZOOLOGY.

Address:          School of Biological Sciences, University of Nairobi

                        P. O. Box 30197 – 00100 Nairobi

E-mails:  &


Joined the University of Nairobi on 1st October 1965, then University College of London University, as Research Assistant with Department of Zoology and rose through the ranks to Professor of Zoology in 1982. Received in 1969 an International Atomic Agency Fellowship tenable at University of Bonn, Department of Zoology, Germany, where I conducted research for four months on the safe use of radio-isotopes for entomological research. Awarded a USA State Department Fulbright Fellowship tenable at the Department of Zoology, University of Iowa, where I taught for a year Invertebrate and Marine Zoology with a field course on tropical marine biology at the Florida Keys in Florida. Renowned worldwide as a leader in Medical Entomology through research on the taxonomy and biology of African Culicoides (Ceratopogonidae: Diptera) (fly biting midges) and became recognised by the Royal Entomological Society of London which published the works as a separate volume 123, Part I, 30 April 1971. As Chairman of former Department of Entomology, University of Nairobi in 1976 with the late Professor T. R. Odhiambo, developed pioneer syllabi and launched 1st postgraduate taught-course programmes for Master of Science degrees in Medical and Agricultural Entomology. I have over 50 publications in peer-reviewed journals on entomology. On record, singularly has successfully supervised a total of more than 15 Ph.D. and 40 M.Sc. degrees. Currently retired, but still serving on contract teaching main core courses: Arthropod Morphology and Classification, Management and Control of Arthropod Vectors and Parasites of Human Diseases, Principles of Insect Pathology, History and Philosophy of Biology and Evolutionary Biology to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. My non-academic services to the Kenyan nation have been recognised by the Office of the President through appointments as Chairman, Kenya Science Teachers College Board of Governors for 12 years; Chairman Board of the National Environment and Management Authority (NEMA) 2003–2006, and awarded the Presdential Order of “Elder of the Burning Spear” (EBS). I am Founder Member of the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) to which recently was appointed Member on its Governing Council; and Founder Fellow of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences (KNAS).


Recently completed Research:

Assessment of current Malaria transmission levels and Potential behavioural changes of people and adult mosquitoes in Emutete Village, Western Kenya after increased use of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) (2011).


  1. To assess the current malaria transmission levels and the potential behavioural changes both in man and adult mosquitoes after increased use of ITNs in the Ematete village, Emuhaya County,Western Kenya.
  2. To determine the indoor resting malaria vector mosquito densities in the study area.
  3. To determine the entomological inoculation rate in the study area
  4. To establish the current level of ownership and utilization of the INTs by means of a questionnaire.
  5. To determine the occurrence of early biting behaviour in malaria vectors.


A longitudinal study in Ematete village Emuhaya County  Western Kenya was conducted in the houses to the collect monthly indoors resting malaria vector mosquitoes for eight months from September 2009 to April 2010. Species were identified both morphologically and by the PCR technique to determine the dominant malaria vector in the area. Infective rates were carried out by use of the Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) method to enable the generation of an entomological inoculation rate. Bednet coverage, utilization and ownership were monitored through a questionnaire approach administered among the school children and shifts in man-biting rates were determined by use of the CDC light traps bi-weekly for four months.

A total of 142 adult malaria mosquito vectors were collected with An. gambiae s. s. as the principal malaria vector. The mean human biting rate for eight months was 0.12, with an infectivity proportion rate for circumsporozoite for Plasmodium falciparium being 2.5%. These measurements yielded a transmission intensity of 1.1 infectious bites per person per year. An overall ratio of 71%:95% CI 66-76% of households owned nets of this proportion parents had a proportion of 59.2%; and children below 5 years 42.8% and above five years 35.8% Of this proportion 87.3% were from the hospital and 12.7% from the shops. There was a significant difference between the proportion of parents who owned nets to that of children below and above 5 years (p << 0.001) and the proportions that obtained their bed nets from hospital to those from the shops (p << 0.001). Proportions that slept under the bednet the night before the study was 48.6%; those who slept under bednets always 39.6%, and 35.4% sometimes sleep under a bednet and 23.1% never sleep under a bednet. The proportions that slept under bednets the previous night were not significant to those that always slept in the net (p = 0.0783), but was significantly so when compared to those sleeping under the net sometimes (p=0.0078) or never slept under the net (p = 0.001). the early biting rates were higher than the late biting rates for all three mosquitoes species, however the mean biting rate (2.9) was not significantly higher than the mean late biting rate (2.6: t = 0.1626, df =4, p = 0.8787).

These results show that the malaria transmission intensities are still reducing after the increased bed net use though the pace could be affected with the effects of the ITNs on the behaviour the people and adult mosquitoes. Thus monitoring should continue on the behaviour of the adult mosquitoes to establish their biting trend.


Biology and ecology of the coffee berry Fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) on the University of Nairobi Farm, Kabete Kenya (2012).


  1. To determine the reproductive biology of fruit fly pests in coffee crops in Kenya.
  2. To compare the life cycles of the identified fruit fly coffee pests.
  3. To determine the timing of emergence activities of both the larvae and the adults of coffee fruit fly pests from their habitats.
  4. To determine the oviposition behaviour of the coffee fruit flies on coffee berries.


Past literature reveals that the basic biological and ecological studies in Kenya on the coffee fruit flies were conducted nearly half a century ago. It is on the basis of this back-drop that these studies were initiated to update knowledge on the biology and ecology of the coffee berry fruit flies in view of the changing farming practices and the climate. The experiments were carried out on the University of Nairobi coffee farm at the Kabete Campus. The specific objectives were to compare the life cycles of the coffee berry fruit flies; to determine the timing of the emergence of the larvae the berries and the adults from the pupae in the soil; and to determine the oviposition behaviour of the flies on coffee berries at different stages of their maturation.

The flies were identified by their morphological features and the three found species were: Ceratitis capitata Wied, Ceratitis rosa Karsch and Trirhithrum coffee Bezzi. Durations taken for maturation of immature stages in each species were determine by the Friedman test based on the hypothesis that there are no differences in the number of days required to complete development between the three species. Timing of emergence activities by the mature larvae and adults from pupae in the soil was contrasted between two groups one studied under controlled conditions in the laboratory at 20oC and the second group observed out-doors in natural conditions in the field. Five berry categories: immature green, mature green, mature green-yellow, mature-yellow-red, and mature-red were established and presented to gravid fruit flies for oviposition. Ovipunctured  berries were dissected to recover eggs and larve. All three species synchronized their oviposition with regard to the most preferred mature-red berries.

By analysis of variance, there were significant differences at p ≤ 0.05 between preferred berry categories for oviposition by the flies with the mature-red berries being dominant. No eggs were oviposited in the immature green berriesThere was no difference between the three species in the egg incubation period. By the Friedman test, variations in the larval and pupal developments were significant at p < 0.05. The emergence activities of the fruit flies occurred in the early hours of the day when temperatures were low which by selective pressure would reduce mortality rates and promote adult populations. Overall, the life cycles were similar to the previous records. Knowledge on synchronization of oviposition by the three fruit fly species would be useful for designing sound cost effective management programmes for the notorious coffee fruit fly pests in Kenya.


B.      Current Research Interests (September 2010-2014)

Topic: Integration of soil fertility, predacious Mites (Acari: Phytoseiidae) and Acaricides for the Management of the notorious Cassava Green Mites Monychellus tanajoa (Bondar) (Acari: Tetranychidae) Pests in Kenya.


  1. Overall, to develop an integrated pest management programme for the Cassava Green Mite Monychellus tanajoa (Bondar): (Acari: Tetranychidae) suitable for the various agro-ecological zones in Kenya.
  2. To conduct a country-wide survey in cassava fields for both predacious and phytophagous mites.
  3. To determine the population dynamics of the mite Monychellus tanajoa in the prevailing abiotic and biotic status of cassava fields.
  4. To find the most effective predacious phytoseiid mite for green-house mass-rearing for release experiments in the field to control the notorious Cassava Green Mite Monychellus tanajoa pest.
  5. To evaluate the most suitable acaricide to conserve the predacious phytoseid mites in cassava fields.
  6. To launch an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme involving the combination of soil fertility, predacious phytoseiid mites and selected acaricides to control the cassava green mite Monychellus tanajoa (Bondar): (Acari: Tetranychidae) pests in Kenya.

Recent Publications

            Mutisya, D.L., C.W. Kariuki  and C.P.M. Khamala (2010). Growth and deveploment of cassava predatory mite under different relative humidity regimes. E.Afr. agric. For. J., 76: (1 & 2) 97-102.

            Mutisya, D,L., E.M. El-Banhawy, C.W. Kariuki, C.P.M. Khamala, K.K.M. Fiaboe and M.M. Kungu (2012). Systematic and Applied Acarology 17: (4): 378-383.


Areas Of Specialization


Research Interests

Topic 1: "Comparative morphology of the Subfamily Pyraustinae (Pyraloidae, Lepodoptera) of East Africa".
Topic 2: Indigenous botanical pesticides for use in integrated pest management (IPM) of insect pests of brassicas by small scale farmers in Kenya.
Topic 3: Ecological and behavioural studies of Anopheles mosquitoes and malaria parasite transmission in Kilifi and Malindi Districts.
Topic 4: The transmission of bancroftian filariasis parasite and its interaction with malaria parasites in their mosquito vectors of filariasis in the coastal region of Kenya.
Topic 5: Country wide spatial and eco-epidemiological analysis of Anopheles mosquitoes relative to malaria endemicity in Kenya.
Topic 6: Feeding patterns in nature of Anopheles malaria vector in Kenya: Effect of host characteristics on malaria parasite infection.
Topic 7: Genetic differentiation and barriers to gene flow in malaria transmission in Kenya.
Topic 8: Evaluate the genetics for populations of Anopheles gambiae relative to factors affecting P. falciparum transmission.

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