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Mosquitoes of the Anopheles maculipennis group (Diptera: Culicidae) in Romania, with the discovery and formal recognition of a new species based on molecular and morphological evidence

  • G. Nicolescu (a1), Y.-M. Linton (a2), A. Vladimirescu (a1), T.M. Howard (a2) and R.E. Harbach (a2)...
Abstract

Mosquitoes of the Anopheles maculipennis group were collected in five districts of Romania (Constanta, Giurgiu, Ilfov, Mehedinti and Suceava) between March 2000 and June 2003. Two hundred and ninety-seven specimens were identified by molecular methods. Nuclear rDNA ITS2 sequences of 178 specimens were compared with GenBank sequences for nine known Palaearctic species of the group, and 119 specimens were identified using an ITS2 PCR–RFLP assay developed during the study. Five genetically distinct species of the group were identified: A. atroparvus van Thiel, A. maculipennis Meigen, A. melanoon Hackett and A. messeae Falleroni and a previously unrecognized species. The new species, herein formally described and named A. daciaesp. n., was collected in the Black Sea coastal region and plains adjacent to the Danube River in southern Romania. Anopheles daciae is most similar to and sympatric with A. messeae. It is contrasted with A. messeae and characterized on the basis of unique nuclear ITS2 and mitochondrial COI DNA sequences and morphological characters of the eggs. The larval, pupal and adults stages of the two species were also compared, but no reliable characters were found to distinguish them. It seems likely that A. daciae is more widespread in eastern Europe and the Balkan States, and could be responsible for malaria transmission in these regions that is currently attributed to A. messeae. Anopheles melanoon is reported from Romania for the first time.

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*Fax: 00442079425229 E-mail: r.harbach@nhm.ac.uk
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Bulletin of Entomological Research
  • ISSN: 0007-4853
  • EISSN: 1475-2670
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