Anopheles (Nyssorhynchus) benarrochi
, An. (N.) oswaldoi
, and An. (N.) rangeli
are the most common anthropophilic mosquitoes in the southern Colombian state of Putumayo. Adult females are most commonly collected in epidemiological studies, and this stage poses significant problems for correct identification, due to overlapping inter-specific morphological characters. Although An. rangeli is easy to identify, the morphological variant of An. benarrochi
found in the region and An. oswaldoi are not always easy to separate. Herein we provide a rapid molecular method to distinguish these two species in Southern Colombia.
Sequence data for the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) region of rDNA was generated for link-reared progeny of An. benarrochi
and An. oswaldoi
, that had been identified using all life stages. ITS2 sequences were 540 bp in length in An. benarrochi
(n = 9) and 531 bp in An. oswaldoi
(n = 7). Sequences showed no intra-specific variation and ungapped inter-specific sequence divergence was 6.4%. Species diagnostic banding patterns were recovered following digestion of the ITS2 amplicons with the enzyme Hae III as follows: An. benarrochi (365, 137, and 38 bp) and An. oswaldoi (493 and 38 bp). This polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assay provides rapid, accurate, and inexpensive species diagnosis of adult females. This will benefit future epidemiological studies and, as PCR amplification can be achieved using a single mosquito leg, the remaining specimen can be either retained as a morphological voucher or further used in vector incrimination studies. That An. benarrochi comprises a complex of at least two species across Latin America is discussed.