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SPECIES IDENTIFICATION WITHIN THE ANOPHELES FUNESTUS GROUP OF MALARIA VECTORS IN CAMEROON AND EVIDENCE FOR A NEW SPECIES

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  • 1 Laboratoire de Lutte contre les Insectes Nuisibles, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Montpellier, France; Laboratoire d’Entomologie Médicale, de P’Institut de Recherche pour le Développement Organisation de Coordination pour la Lutte contre les Endémies en Afrique Centrale, Yaounde, Cameroon; Vector Control Reference Unit, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, School of Pathology of the National Health Laboratory Service and the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Anopheles funestus is a major vector of malaria in Africa. It belongs to a group of sibling species that can be identified morphologically only at certain stages of their development. A diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based tool made it possible to differentiate five species of the group. The assay seems to be applicable over all their distribution area for four of these species: An. funestus, An. leesoni, An. parensis, and An. vaneedenip. The fifth species, An. rivulorum, is the second most abundant species of the group and can be mistaken at its adult stage for the major vector of malaria An. funestus. Molecular and morphologic observations of specimens identified as An. rivulorum from Cameroon and South Africa showed that they belong to two different taxa. The species identified in Cameroon, and named here An. rivulorum-like, might extend to western Africa and central Africa. The species-specific PCR assay is supplemented by a primer specific to An. rivulorum-like and thus makes it possible to differentiate the five species of the An. funestus group and the newly defined taxon.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Anna Cohuet, Laboratoire de Lutte contre les Insectes Nuisibles, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, 911 Avenue Agropolis, BP 64501, 34 394 Montpellier Cedex 5, France, Telephone: 33-4-67-04-19-24, Fax: 33-4-67-54-20-44, E-mail: anna.cohuet@mpl.ird.fr.
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