DOI: 10.1093/jisesa/ieae006 ISSN: 1536-2442

Unraveling biotypes of the northern house mosquito, Culex pipiens s.l. (Diptera: Culicidae): molecular differentiation and morphometric analysis

Ingrid E Alvial, Raquel Hernández-P, Manuel J Suazo, Christian R González, David Véliz, Hugo A Benítez
  • Insect Science
  • General Medicine


Geometric morphometrics was used to determine whether geographic isolation could explain differences in wing size and shape between and within continental (27°S to 41°S) and insular (Rapa Nui) populations of Culex pipiens s.s. Linnaeus and their biotypes (f. pipiens and f. molestus). Molecular protocols based on polymorphisms in the second intron of nuclear locus ace-2 (acetylcholinesterase-2) were used to differentiate Cx. pipiens s.s. from Cx. quinquefasciatus Say, and an assay based on polymorphisms in the flanking region of a microsatellite locus (CQ11) was used to identify biotypes. Culex pipiens f. molestus and hybrids shared larval habitats in all continental sites, while Cx. pipiens f. pipiens was found in 5 of the 10 sites. Only biotype molestus was found in Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Pipiens and molestus biotypes occur sympatrically in aboveground locations, and only molestus was found in the underground site (ME). Biotype molestus was dominant in rural locations and preferably anthropophilic. These results agree with the ecological descriptions previously reported for the biotypes of Cx. pipiens s.s. Procrustes ANOVA only showed differences in centroid size between biotypes in females and males and did not show significant differences in wing shape. However, we found significant differences among the geographic areas in the centroid size and wing shape of both females and males. Particularly, the population of Rapa Nui Island had shorter wings than the continental populations. The results highlight the effects of geographic and environmental processes on morphotypes in vector mosquitoes.

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