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Culicoides Latreille (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) taxonomy: Current challenges and future directions

Harrup L.E., Bellis G.A., Balenghien T., Garros C.. 2015. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 30 : p. 249-266.

DOI: 10.1016/j.meegid.2014.12.018

Culicoides Latreille biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) cause a significant biting nuisance to humans, livestock and equines, and are the biological vectors of a range of internationally important pathogens of both veterinary and medical importance. Despite their economic significance, the delimitation and identification of species and evolutionary relationships between species within this genus remains at best problematic. To date no phylogenetic study has attempted to validate the subgeneric classification of the genus and the monophyly of many of the subgenera remains doubtful. Many informal species groupings are also known to exist but few are adequately described, further complicating accurate identification. Recent contributions to Culicoides taxonomy at the species level have revealed a high correlation between morphological and molecular analyses although molecular analyses are revealing the existence of cryptic species. This review considers the methods for studying the systematics of Culicoides using both morphological and genetic techniques, with a view to understanding the factors limiting our current understanding of Culicoides biology and hence arbovirus epidemiology. In addition, we examine the global status of Culicoides identification, highlighting areas that are poorly addressed, including the potential implementation of emerging technologies.

Mots-clés : culicoides; taxonomie; classification; arboviruses [en]; entomologie; biologie moléculaire; anatomie animale; empreinte adn; génie génétique; phylogénie; polymorphisme génétique; vecteur de maladie; code-barres génétique

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