Entomology, Department of


Date of this Version



Medical and Veterinary Entomology 10:3 (July 1996), pp. 228–234.

doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2915.1996.tb00735.x


Copyright © 1996 Blackwell Science Ltd. [Wiley]. Used by permission.


A subregion of the mitochondrial large subunit (16s) rRNA gene was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) from nine species of blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae) which serve as natural or experimental vectors of human or bovine Onchocerca parasites. PCR products from each species of blackfly were tested by directed heteroduplex analysis (DHDA), and their genotypes established according to diagnostic banding patterns of the heteroduplex products. Three alleles of mitochondrial 16s rRNA were found to exist in members of the Simulium (Edwardsellum) damnosum sensu lato complex from West Africa, and two alleles were found in the Neotropical Simulium (Psilopelmia) ochraceum Walker complex and the Simulium (Simulium) metallicum Bellardi complex. Different single alleles were detected in Austrosimulium bancrofti, in English S.(S.)noelleri and in two North American laboratory vectors: Simulium (Psilozia) vittatum Zetterstedt and S.(S.)decorum Walker. Phylogenetic analysis of 16s sequences indicated that blackflies from West Africa and the Americas formed distinct clades. Neotropical onchocerciasis vectors were found to be more closely related to Nearctic and Palaearctic nonvector Simulium species than to the African vectors of onchocerciasis.