Identification of two West African black flies (Diptera: Simuliidae) of the Simulium damnosum species complex by analysis of cuticular paraffins
Carlson, D.A.; Walsh, J.F.
Acta Tropica 38(3): 235-239
S. damnosum is known to be a sibling species complex with at least 24 cytotaxonomically distinct forms in Africa. Of these, 6 occur in the area of West Africa covered by the WHO Onchocerciasis Control Program. They are all vectors of human Onchocerca volvulus, and several are capable of migrating great distances. A comparatively simple chemical method of species identification, using individual adult females of pooled samples collected and stored dry in glass vials, is reported. Females of S. sirbanum and S. squamosum, were identified by extraction and analysis of cuticular components using gas chromatography. Statistically significant differences were seen between these 2 spp. for each of 5 sets of consistently-appearing peaks that were quantitated and compared. The technique has considerable potential for use in the field since extracts or specimens may be stored indefinitely at ambient temperature before analysis.