, Volume 124, Issue 1, pp 41–59 | Cite as

Isolation by distance and a chromosomal cline in the Cayapa cytospecies of Simulium exiguum, the vector of human onchocerciasis in Ecuador

  • M. Charalambous
  • S. Lowell
  • M. Arzube
  • C. A. Lowry


The population genetic structure of the Cayapa cytospecies of Simulium exiguum, the vector of onchocerciasis, was analysed using allozyme frequency and chromosomal inversion polymorphism data from 6 and 15 populations respectively, collected in Ecuador. Eight allozyme loci were scored. No unique allozyme markers were found enabling us to identify biting adults of the vector from the non-vector Bucay cytotype. Mannose-phosphate isomerase (Mpi) contributed largely to the significant heterogeneity in gene frequency among populations of the Cayapa cytospecies and also to the overall population structuring (FST=0.015 ± 0.014) which fitted the isolation by distance model. However, heterozygote deficits were recorded for Mpi in four of the six populations, which could indicate that selection is acting at this locus but this hypothesis will require further convincing evidence. Furthermore the significant population structuring of allozymes was not evident when Mpi was omitted from the analysis. All inversion polymorphisms (IIS-B, IIS-F, IIL-A and IIL-B) were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, showed significant heterogeneity between populations and revealed the occurrence of an altitudinal cline in inversion IIS-B frequency. The inversion polymorphisms revealed a significant degree of population structuring (FST=0.083 ± 0.027), which can be explained by the isolation by distance model. A UPGMA cluster analysis revealed the relatively remote, high altitude Rio Mira populations to be the most genetically distinct.


allozymes blackfly chromosomes FST isolation by distance onchocerciasis population structure Simulium exiguum complex South America vector 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Charalambous
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Lowell
    • 2
  • M. Arzube
    • 3
  • C. A. Lowry
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesImperial College LondonSilwood Park, AscotUK
  2. 2.Medical & Veterinary Division, Department of EntomologyThe Natural History MuseumLondonUK
  3. 3.Instituto Nacional de Higiene y Medicina Tropical “Leopoldo Izquieta Peréz”CasillaEcuador

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