No studies have addressed the spatial complexity of Anopheles arabiensis populations in Zambia or the effects of drought on the genetic structure of this species. We genotyped approximately 420 An. arabiensis at 12 microsatellite loci representing 18 collections from the Southern Province of Zambia. Collections spanned three transmission seasons and covered a wet year-drought year-wet year cycle. Anopheles arabiensis within the 2,000 km(2) of the Macha study region were panmictic, with high gene flow between Macha and Namwala, Zambia, which are 80 km apart. There was little evidence for genetic structuring among years, with no significant shifts in allele frequency distributions or observed heterozygosity, and no evidence for a genetic bottleneck despite a drastic reduction in mosquito numbers during the drought year. Anopheles arabiensis in southern Zambia has a large deme size, and the regional genetic structure of this species was little affected by an extended drought period.