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Systematics studies in Microculex genus of the Culex (Diptera: Culicidae)occurences in Brazil

Grant number: 17/02342-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2017
Effective date (End): April 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal Investigator:Mauro Toledo Marrelli
Grantee:Rafael de Oliveira Christe
Home Institution: Instituto de Medicina Tropical de São Paulo (IMT). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Mosquitoes of the subgenus Microculex (Culex) (Diptera: Culicidae) belong to a group composed by species associated almost exclusively with bromeliads as their breeding grounds. In the last decades we are witnessing the disorderly increase of the human occupation in wild and environmental protection areas. As this process of invasion progresses, man comes in contact with organisms that previously were restricted to the wild environment. Although species of this subgenus is not incriminated as a vector of etiologic agents for humans, their role in maintaining enzootic cycles is completely unknown and studies dealing with their taxonomy need to be reviewed. Each year the spread of specialized knowledge in taxonomy becomes rarer, and the difficulties generated from the inability to recognize a non-vector to vector specimen can lead to poor strategies for combating vector species. The subgenus Microculex has been the subject of few studies, and in the last decades practically no knowledge has been acquired regarding its biology, ecology and geographical distribution. A taxonomic and phylogenetic revision of the subgenus will clarify the possibility of new species and cryptic species proposed by earlier works, in addition to the scarce molecular data available for this subgenus. This project aims to (1) carry out an in depth systematic study using morphological characters of the male genitalia, essential for the design of identification keys; (2) using wing morphometric markers to develop a database capable of separating cryptic species. (3) With the suport of CO1 molecular markers clarify questions about the taxonomy and enhancement of molecular data, which for this subgenus are scarce. (AU)