Morphological and molecular identification of species of the Obsoletus group (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in Scandinavia

Søren Achim Nielsen, Michael Kristensen

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


After the introduction of bluetongue in northern Europe in 2006, populations of Culicoides have been monitored in many European countries. Large quantities of Culicoides specimens shall be determined to species, and it is thus important to find reliable morphological characters that are visualized in a stereomicroscope. Culicoides obsoletus, Culicoides scoticus, Culicoides chiopterus, and Culicoides dewulfi all belonging to subgenus Avaritia are common in collections in northern Europe. C. obsoletus and C. scoticus often make up more than 50% of the total catch of biting midges. Separation of the females of the four species by morphological characters has frequently been questioned, and in many cases, female specimens are grouped as an entity in veterinary and ecological studies. We show how it is possible using a stereomicroscope to separate the females of the four species by combining the shape of the third segment of the maxillary palp and the number and location of hairs on the first abdominal tergit. Validation of the quick stereomicroscope identification method was achieved by morphometric measurements and a molecular marker. In all cases, both methods verified the quick morphological species identification of the Obsoletus group females. In conclusion, the females of all four species of the Obsoletus group can be separated by a quick morphological method under the stereomicroscope.
TidsskriftParasitology Research
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)1133-1141
StatusUdgivet - 2011

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