Six new species of the Anopheles leucosphyrus group, reinterpretation of An. elegans and vector implications


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Abstract

Among Oriental anopheline mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae), several major vectors of forest malaria belong to the group of Anopheles(Cellia)leucosphyrus Dönitz. We have morphologically examined representative material (> 8000 specimens from seven countries) for taxonomic revision of the Leucosphyrus Group. Six new species are here described from adult, pupal and larval stages (with illustrations of immature stages) and formally named as follows: An. latens n. sp. (= An. leucosphyrus species A of Baimai et al., 1988b), An. cracens n. sp., An. scanloni n. sp., An. baimaii n. sp. (formerly An. dirus species B, C, D, respectively), An. mirans n. sp. and An. recens n. sp. Additionally, An. elegans (James) is redescribed and placed in the complex of An. dirus Peyton & Harrison (comprising An. baimaii, An. cracens, An. dirus, An. elegans, An. nemophilous Peyton & Ramalingam, An. scanloni and An. takasagoensis Morishita) of the Leucosphyrus Subgroup, together with An. baisasi Colless and the An. leucosphyrus complex (comprising An. balabacensis Baisas, An. introlatus Baisas, An. latens and An. leucosphyrus). Hence, the former Elegans Subgroup is renamed the Hackeri Subgroup (comprising An. hackeri Edwards, An. pujutensis Colless, An. recens and An. sulawesi Waktoedi).Distribution data and bionomics of the newly defined species are given, based on new material and published records, with discussion of morphological characters for species distinction and implications for ecology and vector roles of such species. Now these and other members of the Leucosphyrus Group are identifiable, it should be possible to clarify the medical importance and distribution of each species. Those already regarded as vectors of human malaria are: An. baimaii[Bangladesh, China (Yunnan), India (Andamans, Assam, Meghalaya, West Bengal), Myanmar, Thailand]; An. latens[Borneo (where it also transmits Bancroftian filariasis), peninsular Malaysia, Thailand]; probably An. cracens (Sumatra, peninsular Malaysia, Thailand); presumably An. scanloni (Thailand); perhaps An. elegans (the Western Ghat form of An. dirus, restricted to peninsular India); but apparently not An. recens (Sumatra) nor An. mirans[Sri Lanka and south-west India (Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu)], which is a natural vector of simian malarias. Together with typical An. balabacensis, An. dirus and An. leucosphyrus, therefore, the Leucosphyrus Group includes about seven important vectors of forest malaria, plus at least a dozen species of no known medical importance, with differential specific distributions collectively spanning > 5000 km from India to the Philippines.

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