Genetic diversity of populations of Old World screwworm fly,Chrysomya bezziana, causing traumatic myiasis of livestock in the Gulf region and implications for control by sterile insect technique

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Fly larvae were collected from 181 cases of traumatic myiasis in livestock in 10 regions of four countries in the Middle East Gulf region: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Oman. The predominant fly species responsible for cases was the Old World screwworm (OWS) fly, Chrysomya bezziana Villeneuve (Diptera: Calliphoridae). In cases from Iran and Oman, which included non-OWS fly species, OWS fly was found solely responsible for 67.6% of cases and jointly with other fly species for a further 12.7% of cases. The major hosts were sheep and goats, together comprising 84.6% of the total, which reflects their predominance among the livestock of these Gulf countries. The major site of wounding on sheep and goats was the tail (40.3%), followed by female genitalia (14.0%). The 3′ terminal 715 nucleotides of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene were sequenced for 178 larvae of OWS. Five haplotypes were identified: three had been recorded previously in the region (two were common throughout and one was unique to Oman), and two were newly identified, one from southern Iraq and the other from Saudi Arabia, both in regions sampled for the first time. The haplotypes varied from one another only at one or two nucleotide sites, equivalent to an intraspecific difference of 0.14–0.28% across the entire 715-bp fragment. There was a single statistically significant association between host species and haplotype in Saudi Arabia, a first such record for OWS fly. The small degree of genetic diversity between geographical populations of OWS fly within the Gulf region suggests that a single Gulf colony could be used to implement the sterile insect technique within an integrated control programme.

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