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Keywords:

  • Anopheles aconitus;
  • An. jeyporiensis;
  • An. minimus;
  • An. pampanai;
  • An. varuna;
  • Myzomyia;
  • malaria vectors;
  • polymerase chain reaction assay;
  • rDNA ITS2;
  • sibling species;
  • species identification;
  • Southeast Asia;
  • Cambodia;
  • Laos;
  • Vietnam

Abstract.  Mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae) of the Anopheles (Cellia) Myzomyia Series are important malaria vectors in Africa, India and Southeast Asia. Among 10 named species of Myzomyia known from the Oriental Region, seven form the An. minimus group. Even for expert taxonomists, the adults of these species remain difficult to identify morphologically. For technical staff of malaria control programmes, confusion may extend to misidentification of species that are not formally within the minimus group. For identification of specimens from Indochina (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam), we describe a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, based on rDNA internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) sequences, that employs a cocktail of primers to identify An. minimus Theobald sibling species A and C (sensu; Green et al., 1990) and three other species in the An. minimus group (An. aconitus Dönitz, An. pampanai Büttiker & Beales, An. varuna Iyengar), as well as An. jeyporiensis James, also belonging to the Myzomyia Series. As the test is DNA-based, it can be applied to all life stages of these mosquitoes for ecological investigations and vector incrimination studies. This PCR assay is simpler, quicker, cheaper and more readily interpreted than previous assays.