Temperature is an important determinant of malaria transmission. Recent work has shown that mosquito and parasite biology are influenced not only by average temperature, but also by the extent of the daily temperature variation. Here we examine how parasite development within the mosquito (Extrinsic Incubation Period) is expected to vary over time and space depending on the diurnal temperature range and baseline mean temperature in Kenya and across Africa. Our results show that under cool conditions, the typical approach of using mean monthly temperatures alone to characterize the transmission environment will underestimate parasite development. In contrast, under warmer conditions, the use of mean temperatures will overestimate development. Qualitatively similar patterns hold using both outdoor and indoor temperatures. These findings have important implications for defining malaria risk. Furthermore, understanding the influence of daily temperature dynamics could provide new insights into ectotherm ecology both now and in response to future climate change.
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