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Phenotypic Variability of Rhodnius ecuadoriensis Populations at the Ecuadorian Central and Southern Andean Region

Anita G. Villacís, Mario J. Grijalva, Silvia S. Catalá
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/ME10053 1034-1043 First published online: 1 November 2010


Rhodnius ecuadoriensis is an important vector of Chagas disease in Ecuador. Whereas only sylvatic and peridomestic populations are common in Manabí province, this species occupies domestic, peridomestic, and sylvatic habitats in Loja province where high reinfestation of houses was observed. To explore the existence of phenetic changes linked to the domiciliation of the species, this study set out to analyze the wing and antennal phenotypes of R. ecuadoriensis in these two provinces where the vector presents different affinity for domestic habitats. The antennal phenotype and the wing size and shape distinguish the two geographical populations of R. ecuadoriensis. In Manabí, sylvatic and peridomestic specimens were very similar. In Loja, sylvatic and nonsylvatic (domestic and peridomestic) populations showed distinctive characteristics. Remarkable sexual dimorphism of wing and antenna, exclusive of domestic specimens, and high metric disparity in the wing shape of the domestic females point out the existence of a particular situation in this habitat. The results of this phenotypic analysis and previous evidence of behavioral differences support the hypothesis of disruptive selection acting upon R. ecuadoriensis populations.

  • Chagas disease,
  • Rhodnius ecuadoriensis,
  • wing morphometry,
  • antennal phenotypes,
  • Ecuador
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