Subspecific Variations among Neotropical Anopheles Mosquitoes, and Their Importance in the Transmission of Malaria

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  • Division of Medical Entomology, School of Hygiene and Public Health, the Johns Hopkins University

It is gratifying that entomological research in tropical medicine is recognized to the extent of being honored with the Bailey K. Ashford award. Many entomologists, particularly those engaged in taxonomic studies, feel constrained to defend their interests when they associate with those who deal directly with the more “practical” phases of tropical medicine, such as epidemiology, treatment, and control of diseases. Although the term “species control” has become a byword among malariologists, the value of knowing exactly what mosquito one is working with has been reemphasized in recent years with the discovery by Hackett, Martini, Missiroli, and others of the so-called races or varieties of Anopheles maculipennis in Europe.

In 1928 the late Dr. F. M. Root, in a paper called “The Present Status of our Knowledge of the Nyssorhynchus group of Anopheline Mosquitoes,” pointed out that only a few years prior to that date, two species were recognized in this deadly group; the forms with the hind tarsi completely white to the tip were named argyritarsis, and those with a black ring at the base of the fifth hind tarsal segment, albimanus.