Open Access Research article

Evidence for the occurrence of two sympatric sibling species within the Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii complex in southeast Brazil and the detection of asymmetric introgression between them using a multilocus analysis

Luísa DP Rona125*, Carlos J Carvalho-Pinto35 and Alexandre A Peixoto45

Author Affiliations

1 Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Polo de Xerém, Estrada de Xerém 27, Duque de Caxias 25245-390, RJ, Brazil

2 Departamento de Biologia Celular, Embriologia e Genética, CCB, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis 88040-970, SC, Brazil

3 Departamento de Microbiologia e Parasitologia, CCB, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis 88040-970, SC, Brazil

4 Laboratório de Biologia Molecular de Insetos, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, FIOCRUZ, Av. Brasil 4365, Rio de Janeiro 21040-360, RJ, Brazil

5 Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia em Entomologia Molecular, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013, 13:207  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-13-207

Published: 24 September 2013



Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii (Diptera: Culicidae) is a primary vector of human and simian malaria parasites in southern and southeastern Brazil. Earlier studies using chromosome inversions, isoenzymes and a number of molecular markers have suggested that An. cruzii is a species complex.


In this study, a multilocus approach using six loci, three circadian clock genes and three encoding ribosomal proteins, was carried out to investigate in more detail the genetic differentiation between the An. cruzii populations from Florianópolis–Santa Catarina (southern Brazil) and Itatiaia–Rio de Janeiro States (southeastern Brazil). The analyses were performed first comparing Florianópolis and Itatiaia, and then comparing the two putative sympatric incipient species from Itatiaia (Itatiaia A and Itatiaia B). The analysis revealed high FST values between Florianópolis and Itatiaia (considering Itatiaia A and B together) and also between the sympatric Itatiaia A and Itatiaia B, irrespective of their function. Also, using the IM program, no strong indication of migration was found between Florianópolis and Itatiaia (considering Itatiaia A and B together) using all loci together, but between Itatiaia A and Itatiaia B, the results show evidence of migration only in the direction of Itatiaia B.


The results of the multilocus analysis indicate that Florianópolis and Itatiaia represent different species of the An. cruzii complex that diverged around 0.6 Mya, and also that the Itatiaia sample is composed of two sympatric incipient species A and B, which diverged around 0.2 Mya. Asymmetric introgression was found between the latter two species despite strong divergence in some loci.

Anopheles; Speciation; Complex of cryptic species; Multilocus analysis; Malaria; Mosquitoes