Guilherme de Rezende Dias 1 , Thais Tenorio Soares Fujii 2 , 3 , Bernardo Fernandes Fogel 2 , 3 , Ricardo Lourenço-de-Oliveira 4 , 10 , Teresa Fernandes Silva-do-Nascimento 4 , André Nóbrega Pitaluga 5 , 10 , Carlos José Carvalho-Pinto 6 , 10 , Antonio Bernardo Carvalho 7 , 10 , Alexandre Afrânio Peixoto 3 , 10 , Luísa Damazio Pitaluga Rona , 8 , 9 , 10
15 January 2018
Anopheles ( Kerteszia) cruzii is the primary vector of human and simian malarias in Brazilian regions covered by the Atlantic Rainforest. Previous studies found that An. cruzii presents high levels of behavioural, chromosomal and molecular polymorphisms, which led to the hypothesis that it may be a complex of cryptic species. Here, An. cruzii specimens were collected in five sites in South-East Brazil located at different altitudes on the inner and coastal slopes of two mountain ranges covered by Atlantic Rainforest, known as Serra do Mar and Serra da Mantiqueria. Partial sequences for two genes ( Clock and cpr) were generated and compared with previously published sequences from Florianópolis (southern Brazil). Genetic diversity was analysed with estimates of population structure ( F ST ) and haplotype phylogenetic trees in order to understand how many species of the complex may occur in this biome and how populations across the species distribution are related.
The sequences from specimens collected at sites located on the lower coastal slopes of Serra do Mar (Guapimirim, Tinguá and Sana) clustered together in the phylogenetic analysis, while the major haplotypes from sites located on higher altitude and at the continental side of the same mountains (Bocaina) clustered with those from Serra da Mantiqueira (Itatiaia), an inner mountain range. These two An. cruzii lineages showed statistically significant genetic differentiation and fixed characters, and have high F ST values typical of between species comparisons. Finally, in Bocaina, where the two lineages occur in sympatry, we found deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium due to a deficit of heterozygotes, indicating partial reproductive isolation. These results strongly suggest that at least two distinct lineages of An. cruzii (provisorily named “Group 1” and “Group 2”) occur in the mountains of South-East Brazil.
At least two genetically distinct An. cruzii lineages occur in the Atlantic Forest covered mountains of South-East Brazil. The co-occurrence of distinct lineages of An. cruzii (possibly incipient species) in those mountains is an interesting biological phenomenon and may have important implications for malaria prevalence, Plasmodium transmission dynamics and control.