The Anopheles punctulatus group of mosquitoes in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu surveyed by allozyme electrophoresis


Department of Entomology. University of Queensland. Brisbane 4072. Queensland. Australia


Abstract. Four species within the Anopheles punctulatus group of mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) were identified by allozyme analysis of samples collected from thirty-three localities in Guadalcanal, Makira, Malaita, Temotu and Western Provinces in the Solomon Islands and six localities on Efate, Espiritu Santo, Maewo and Malekula Islands in Vanuatu. Three of these species are members of the An. farauti complex. A key is given to identify five species of the An. punctulatus group known to occur in the Solomon Islands using their isoenzyme characteristics.

An. farauti No. 1 was widespread in coastal areas of the Solomon Islands and was the only species detected in Vanuatu, including Efate Island (where Faureville is the type locality of An. farauti Laveran sensu stricto). An. farauti No. 2 and An. punctulatus were common in the Solomon Islands in more inland areas. An. farauti No. 7, reported here for the first time, was found as larvae in freshwater at six localities on north Guadalcanal. Three other members of the An. punctulatus group which have been reported previously from the Solomon Islands: An. koliensis, An. renellensis and an electrophoretic variant of An. farauti sensu lato, were not found in our samples.

Previously recognized vectors of malaria and bancroftian filariasis in the Solomon Islands are An. farauti No. 1 (i.e. An. farauti s.s.), An. koliensis and An. punctulatus s. s. Adult females of An. farauti No. 2 and An. farauti No. 7 were not attracted to human bait in areas where their larvae occurred, indicating that these two species are not anthropophilic and therefore unlikely to transmit human pathogens.