Parasitology Research

, Volume 112, Issue 7, pp 2495–2501 | Cite as

Diversity of Culex torrentium Martini, 1925 — a potential vector of arboviruses and filaria in Europe

  • Antje Werblow
  • Sarah Bolius
  • Adriaan W. C. Dorresteijn
  • Christian MelaunEmail author
  • Sven Klimpel
Original Paper


Culex torrentium is one of the most common mosquito species in Germany. Due to its sympatric occurrence as well as its similar morphological and ecological characteristics, it has often been confused with another common species, Culex pipiens. Both species are known to be potential vectors for different arboviruses (not only in Germany) with C. torrentium being a possible vector for Sindbis or Ockelbo virus. In our study, we analyzed the genetic variability in a 658 bp fragment of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene (coxI) of C. torrentium, from nine localities in the Frankfurt/Rhine-Main Metropolitan Region. The results of our genetic survey indicate a higher genetic diversity in this gene region for C. torrentium than for the morphologically similar C. pipiens. Our findings may explain the difficulties in the past to find morphological characteristics that apply to all populations of C. torrentium, when attempting to separate them clearly from C. pipiens, by any other criteria than male genitalia. Being ornithophilic, possible hybrids between C. torrentium and the humanophilic C. pipiens biotype molestus, could potentially serve as important vectors for zoonotic diseases. Therefore, we recommend that greater emphasis is placed on the ecological characteristics, population structure, and the taxonomy of this often neglected species, in the future.


West Nile Virus Cryptic Species Metropolitan Region Male Genitalia Intraspecific Variability 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The present study was financially supported by the research funding program “LOEWE — Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz” of Hesse's Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and the Arts and by the SAW (Senate Competition Committee) grant (SAW-2011-BNI-3) of the Leibniz Association. We also thank Melissa Anderton, Portsmouth for editing the text.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antje Werblow
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sarah Bolius
    • 1
    • 3
  • Adriaan W. C. Dorresteijn
    • 3
  • Christian Melaun
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sven Klimpel
    • 1
  1. 1.Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F), Medical Biodiversity and Parasitology; Goethe-University (GO)Institute for Ecology, Evolution and Diversity; Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SGN)Frankfurt am MainGermany
  2. 2.Senckenberg German Entomological Institute (SDEI)MünchebergGermany
  3. 3.Institute for General Zoology and Developmental BiologyJustus Liebig University (JLU)GiessenGermany

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