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Morphological and molecular characterization of Aedes aegypti variant collected from Tamil Nadu, India

1 ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre, 4, Sarojini Street Chinna Chokkikulam, Madurai, India
2 ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre (VCRC), Medical Complex, Indira Nagar, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Bhavna Gupta,
ICMR-Vector Control Research Centre, 4, Sarojini Street Chinna Chokkikulam, Madurai-625002
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-9062.331413

Background & objectives: Accurate mosquito species identification is the basis of entomological surveys and effective vector control. Mosquito identification is either done morphologically using diagnostic features mentioned in taxonomic keys or by molecular methods using cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (coxI) and Inter transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2). Methods: We performed a larval survey for Aedes mosquitoes from eight different geographical regions in Tamil Nadu, India. The mosquitoes collected during the survey were characterized using both morphological and molecular markers. Results: During an entomological survey from eight different geographical regions in Southern India, a morphological variety named Aedes aegypti var. luciensis was observed. The variant mosquitoes were characterized using both morphological and molecular markers. The variant mosquitoes differed only in the dark scaling of 5 th segment of hind-tarsi. Around one third to two third of the 5 th segment in variant mosquitoes was dark which has been described as white in identification keys. No other significant difference was observed in adults or immature stages. The variation was heritable and coexisting in the field with the type form mosquitoes. Comparison of the genetic profile of coxI and ITS2 were similar in variant and the type form indicating both of them to be conspecifics. Interpretation & conclusion: The morphological variant mosquitoes were found genetically similar to the Ae. aegypti type form. However, considering its high prevalence and coexistence with Ae. aegypti type form in different geographical regions, detailed studies on bionomics, ecology, genetics, behavior as well as its plausible role in disease transmission are warranted.

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