[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phylogenetic approaches based on mitochondrial DNA variation (fragments of Cyt B and 16S ribosomal RNA) have revealed Triatoma sherlocki as the most recent species addition to the Triatoma brasiliensis species complex; a monophyletic group which includes T. brasiliensis, T. melanica, and T. juazeirensis. Triatoma sherlocki is the most differentiated among all species of this complex: it is unable to fly, possesses longer legs than the other members, and has reddish tonality in some parts of its exochorion. We question whether these species are reproductively compatible because of this pronounced morphological differentiation, and therefore, we present a series of cross breeding experiments that test compatibility between T. sherlocki and other members of the T. brasiliensis complex. We extended our analyses to include crosses between T. sherlocki and T. lenti, because the latter has been suggested as a possible member of this complex. T. sherlocki male x T. lenti female pairs failed to produce hybrids. All other crosses and backcrosses of T. sherlocki and members of T. brasiliensis species complex, as well as backcrosses, produced viable offspring through the third generation. This study stresses the importance of searching for the features that may isolate members of the Triatoma brasiliensis species complex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Flight dispersion is recognized as one of the most important mechanisms for triatomine house infestation. Triatoma sherlocki and T. juazeirensis are closely related species that occur within the same ecotope and their possible reproductive boundaries are unknown. T. sherlocki has shorter wings than T. juazeirensis; a characteristic that possibly implies in reduced flight dispersion, however, this species has been found to invade and colonize homes in Bahia, Brazil. Here, we tested the flight potential of T. sherlocki, compared to that of T. juazeirensis and laboratory-bred hybrids. Insects were kept in an apparatus designed to distinguish flyers from nonflyers. Fifty-one and 53% of T. juazeirensis and hybrids were flyers respectively, whereas no T. sherlocki were recorded to fly. Morphometric analysis of the main structures associated with the locomotor abilities showed that hybrids exhibited intermediate size for most of characters. The width of pronotum of both hybrids and T. juazeirensis was significantly larger than T. sherlocki. We suggested that lack of flight ability of T. sherlocki is possibly a result of reduced wing size and distinct shape, combined with undeveloped flight muscles in a shorter thoracic box. The mobility of T. sherlocki might be compensated by its significantly longer legs, and may possibly increase its ability to invade human dwellings by active dispersion. What is more, this study showed that hybrids between T. sherloki and T. juazeirensis have intermediate morphological characters that may give them higher fitness than their parents, and thus may advance the process of house infestation by either fight or walking in case of an eventual natural hybridization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Searches for Chagas disease vectors were performed at the type locality from which Triatoma sherlocki Papa et al. (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae) was described in the municipality of Gentio do Ouro, in the state of Bahia, Brazil, and in a small artisan quarry-mining community approximately 13 km distant in a remote area of the same municipality. The latter site represents a new locality record for this species. Adults, nymphs and exuviae of T. sherlocki were found in 21% of human dwellings, indicating that the species is in the process of domiciliation. Prevalence of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in collected bugs was 10.8%. Simple predictive approaches based on environmental similarity were used to identify additional sites likely suitable for this species. The approach successfully predicted an additional five sites for the species in surrounding landscapes. Ecological and entomological indicators were combined to discuss whether this scenario likely represents an isolated case or an emerging public health problem.
Medical and Veterinary Entomology 12/2009; 23(4):410-7. · 2.21 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Triatoma carcavalloi is considered a rare Chagas disease vector often collected inside domiciles in Rio Grande do Sul State. In this Brazilian state, T. carcavalloi has been collected in the same ecotope (rock piles) with two other species (T. rubrovaria and T. circummaculata), with which it also shares morphological characteristics. Previous morphological studies placed T. carcavalloi in the same species complex ("infestans complex") and subcomplex ("rubrovaria subcomplex") as T. rubrovaria, whereas T. circummaculata was placed in the "circummaculata complex." The phylogeny of a group composed of 16 species of triatomines was reevaluated with the inclusion of T. carcavalloi by Bayesian analysis using mtDNA sequences of subunits 12S and 16S of the ribosomal RNA, and the cytochrome oxidase I (COI) genes. The phenotypic relationship among T. carcavalloi and related triatomines was also inferred from morphometrics. Phylogenetic results indicate that T. carcavalloi is a sister species of T. rubrovaria, and both were recovered as closely related to T. circummaculata. Morphometric studies confirmed the closeness among T. carcavalloi, T. rubrovaria, and T. circummaculata, prompting the placement of the latter species in the "infestans complex" and "rubrovaria subcomplex."
Journal of Vector Ecology 12/2009; 34(2):164-73. · 1.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Geometric morphometrics is a novel approach to biological shape analysis, and its application to medical entomology is just beginning. Here, we use it to examine geographical and interspecific variation in the Triatoma infestans complex, vectors of Chagas disease in southern Latin America. Using six landmarks defining the membranous part of the hemelytra, we analysed the geographical patterns of variation in several populations of T. infestans, including the recently described ‘dark morph’ of T. infestans from hollow trees in the Bolivian Chaco. As a potential outgroup, T. melanosoma was added to the sample. A consistent geographical differentiation was observed, but no evidence was found in either sex to consider either the dark morph or T. melanosoma as a species distinct from T. infestans. Triatoma melanosoma is relegated to synonymy with T. infestans (syn.n.).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The oliveirai complex is actually composed of nine related species of Triatominae that occur in the Pantanal ecosystem of Mato Grosso, Brazil. In order to confirm their specific status and infer their phylogenetic relationships, we performed a genetic and morphometric comparison concerning seven of the nine species of the complex. Isoenzyme analysis provided broadly similar phylogenetic information to that derived from discriminant analysis of size-free variables. The derived trees reveal two main species groups, one composed of three closed species (T. jurbergi, T. matogrossensis and T. vandae), and another one subdivided into two different pairs, the T. guazu-T. williami pair and the T. klugi-T. oliveirai pair. The results call the specific status of T. guazu and T. williami into question, support the possibility that the other analyzed species represent distinct taxa and query the existence of the oliveirai complex.
Infection Genetics and Evolution 11/2002; 2(1):11-7. · 2.77 Impact Factor