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Advances in Disease Vector Research

Volume 6 of the series Advances in Disease Vector Research pp 1-28

Ribosomal RNA Genes of the Anopheles gambiae Species Complex

  • Frank H. CollinsAffiliated withCenter for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases
  • , Susan M. PaskewitzAffiliated withCenter for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Malaria Branch, Division of Parasitic Diseases
  • , Victoria FinnertyAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Emory University

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Abstract

The Anopheles gambiae complex is a group of six sibling species of Afro-tropical anophelines. The two most widely distributed species Anopheles gambiae and An. arabiensis are among the principal vectors of malaria in Africa. An. melas, An. merus, and An. bwambae, are vectors of limited regional importance, whereas the highly zoophilic An. Quadri-annulatus is not believed to contribute significantly to the transmission of malaria (25, 63, 71, 72). Although some species-specific differences have been described in the distributions of morphometric criteria (15, 20), no morphological taxonomic characters have been observed that permit the unequivocal identification of the species of individual adult or larval specimens. Because the habitats of these six species overlap considerably, both on geographical and ecological scales, two or more members of the complex are often present in the same adult or larval collections.