Volume 62, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Eleven species of Rhodnius and one of Psammolestes were compared by DNA sequence analysis of fragments of the mitochondrial large subunit ribosomal RNA (mtlsurRNA), the mitochondrial cytochrome b (mtCytb), and the D2 variable region of the 28S nuclear RNA (D2), totaling 1,429 base pairs. The inferred phylogeny, using Triatoma infestans as an outgroup, revealed two main clades within the Rhodniini--one, including the prolixus group of species (Rhodnius prolixus, Rhodnius robustus, Rhodnius neglectus, and Rhodnius nasutus) together with Rhodnius domesticus and Rhodnius neivai, and the other comprising two groups formed by Rhodnius pictipes plus Rhodnius brethesi, and Rhodnius ecuadoriensis plus Rhodnius pallescens. Psammolestes tertius appeared most closely related to the prolixus group. The analysis strongly supports the validity of R. robustus as a species distinct from others of the prolixus group, but suggests higher genetic structuring of R. robustus populations compared to the other species. Although R. robustus has been found naturally infected by Trypanosoma cruzi, the fact that it is apparently entirely sylvatic and unable to establish in homes suggests that it is of no great importance as a Chagas disease vector in humans.


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