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Distribution of sibling species of the Anopheles annulipes complex (Diptera: Culicidae) in the Townsville region of Australia

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As members of the Anopheles annulipes species complex have been implicated as possible malaria vectors in the past, their response to dams and urban development is of medical interest. We collected An. annulipes sensu lato (s.l.) Walker from the Ross River Dam and environs of tropical north Queensland, and scored them for 28 allozyme loci. Allozyme genotype data were analysed by the Unweighted Pair Group Method of Analysis applied to percentage fixed allelic differences (%FD) and by a Bayesian clustering approach. Both approaches revealed four groups, which differed by more than 25%FD, suggesting four species. Specimens sequenced for the Internal transcribed spacer subunit 2 of rDNA suggested that three of these groups were An. annulipes species D, species I and species O. Anopheles annulipes species D occurred in the Ross River and the Ross River Dam, An. annulipes species O inhabited rock pools, and An. annulipes species I inhabited both rock pools and artificial containers in domestic situations. Construction of the Ross River Dam appears to have benefited at least An. annulipes species D, and nearby housing development An. annulipes species I. Although An. annulipes s.l. does not appear to be a major medical risk, mosquito monitoring around Townsville may need to take into account the multispecies status of this taxon.
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Keywords: Ross River Dam; container breeding; ecology; malaria

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Community Response Department, Pine Rivers Shire Council, PO Box 5070, Strathpine, Qld 4500, Australia.

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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