is the most important Chagas disease insect vector in Central America as this species is primarily responsible for Trypanosoma cruzi
transmission to humans, the protozoan parasite that causes Chagas disease. T. dimidiata
sensu lato is a genetically diverse assemblage of taxa and effective vector control requires a clear understanding of the geographic distribution and epidemiological importance of its taxa. The nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS-2) is frequently used to infer the systematics of triatomines. However, oftentimes amplification and sequencing of ITS-2 fails, likely due to both the large polymerase chain reaction (PCR) product and polymerase slippage near the 5’ end. To overcome these challenges we have designed new primers that amplify only the 3’-most 200 base pairs of ITS-2. This region distinguishes the ITS-2 group for 100% of known T. dimidiata
haplotypes. Furthermore, we have developed a PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) approach to determine the ITS-2 group, greatly reducing, but not eliminating, the number of amplified products that need to be sequenced. Although there are limitations with this new PCR-RFLP approach, its use will help with understanding the geographic distribution of T. dimidiata
taxa and can facilitate other studies characterising the taxa, e.g. their ecology, evolution and epidemiological importance, thus improving vector control.