Triatoma infestans, one of the main vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi, is strongly associated with rural human ecotopes. Infested peridomestic places could act as a source of house infestation as a result of the movement of vectors among habitats. The quantitative study of phenotypic traits and nutritional variables could be informative about the population structure and the relative mobility of vectors. This is the first approach toward analyzing the phenetic characteristics of T. infestans and the relationship with their potential role to invade and colonize other habitats in the arid Chaco region. This article compares the phenotypic structure of T. infestans populations living in chicken coops and goat corrals, analyzing the geometric morphometry of wings and heads, antennal phenotypes, and the nutritional status of 257 adults and nymphs. The study area remained untreated with insecticides during the 15 years before the present study. The insects collected in peridomestic structures located in two zones 80 km apart exhibited significant differences in their morphotypes, suggesting an environmental effect and/or the absence of individual exchange between zones. The population structure was clear in T. infestans from goat corrals and chicken coops in one zone and less pronounced in the other. These results suggest the existence of a different rate of individual exchange among ecotopes within each zone. Morphometric variables of heads and wings were significantly correlated in insects collected in goat corrals but not in chicken coops, suggesting a habitat effect and supporting the hypothesis of different canalization forces that affect the two organs. The nutritional status of adults indicated a low dispersal probability with zonal differences. This article provides the first combined morphometric analysis of the head of adults and fifth instar nymphs in triatomines and the first combined analysis of head and wing in T. infestans.
The presence of Triatoma infestans in habitats treated with insecticides constitutes a frequent problem in endemic areas. Basing our study on the hypothesis that descendants of a residual population should be more similar to the pre-treatment population than to any other, we compared the indications of two quantitative morphological approaches. This study seeks to find the origin of 247 T. infestans from three populations found in two chicken coops and a goat corral after treatment with insecticides. The results obtained by quantitative morphology suggest that the T. infestans found between three-34 months after the application of insecticides formed mixed populations with insects derived from residual foci and neighbouring habitats. Our analyses also showed the presence of a phenotype which does not resemble neither the pre-treatment phenotype nor the one from neighbouring populations, suggesting the presence of a particular post-treatment phenotype. The heads size showed some variations in males from different populations and remained unchanged in females, which reinforces the hypothesis of an intraspecific competition for food with priority for females. This article presents, for the first time, the combined analysis of geometric morphometry of heads and antennal phenotypes to identify the composition of reinfesting populations.
BackgroundThe Sordida subcomplex (Triatominae) comprises four species, Triatoma garciabesi, T. guasayana, T. patagonica and T. sordida, which differ in epidemiological importance and adaptations to human environments. Some morphological similarities among species make taxonomic identification, population differentiation and species delimitation controversial. Triatoma garciabesi and T. sordida are the most similar species, having been considered alternatively two and a single species until T. garciabesi was re-validated, mostly based on the morphology of male genitalia. More recently, T. sordida from Argentina has been proposed as a new cryptic species distinguishable from T. sordida from Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay by cytogenetics. We studied linear and geometric morphometry of the head, wings and pronotum in populations of these species aiming to find phenotypic markers for their discrimination, especially between T. sordida and T. garciabesi, and if any set of variables that validates T. sordida from Argentina as a new species.ResultsHead width and pronotum length were the linear variables that best differentiated species. Geometric morphometry revealed significant Mahalanobis distances in wing shape between all pairwise comparisons. Triatoma patagonica exhibited the best discrimination and T. garciabesi overlapped the distribution of the other species in the morphometric space of the first two DFA axes. Head shape showed differentiation between all pairs of species except for T. garciabesi and T. sordida. Pronotum shape did not differentiate T. garciabesi from T. guasayana. The comparison between T. garciabesi and T. sordida from Argentina and T. sordida from Brazil and Bolivia revealed low differentiation based on head and pronotum linear measurements. Pronotum and wing shape were different between T. garciabesi and T. sordida from Brazil and Bolivia and T. sordida from Argentina. Head shape did not differentiate T. garciabesi from T. sordida from Argentina.ConclusionsWing shape best delimited the four species phenotypically. The proposed cryptic species, T. sordida from Argentina, differed from T. sordida from Brazil and Bolivia in all measured shape traits, suggesting that the putative new species may not be cryptic. Additional studies integrating cytogenetic, phenotypic and molecular markers, as well as cross-breeding experiments are needed to confirm if these three entities represent true biological species.Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article (10.1186/s13071-017-2350-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Influye la alimentación sobre el dimorfismo sexual en Triatoma infestans (Hemiptera, Reduviidae) de hábitats naturales? RESUMEN. Triatoma infestans es el principal vector del parásito que causa la enfermedad de Chagas en Sudamérica. Se sabe que T. infestans tiene diferentes patrones reproductivos y de desarrollo dependiendo de si se alimentan de aves o mamíferos. Utilizando la cabeza de insectos adultos como estimador del desarrollo, se intenta determinar si existen diferencias en el dimorfismo de tamaño sexual asociado con la disponibilidad del recurso alimenticio en T. infestans de hábitats naturales en la región de Llanos Riojanos (Argentina). El estado nutricional fue mayor en gallineros y, en ambos hábitats, fue mayor para las hembras en relación con los machos. El tamaño centroide fue mayor en las hembras que en los machos de gallineros, pero no en los especímenes de corrales de cabras. Los tamaños centroide revelaron medianas más pequeñas en insectos de cabra en comparación con los procedentes de gallineros. El dimorfismo sexual del tamaño se asocia con diferencias en el estado nutricional solo para triatominos de gallineros de habitats naturales. La conformación de las cabezas no se vio influenciada por el estado nutricional. Las diferencias morfofisiológicas encontradas en T. infestans ayudan a comprender aspectos del comportamiento de la especie en diversos ambientes y sus implicaciones en la transmisión vectorial de Trypanosoma cruzi.
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