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Acta Trop. 2019 Jan 30;192:66-74. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2019.01.024. [Epub ahead of print]

Geometric morphometrics approach towards discrimination of three member species of Maculatus group in Thailand.

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Department of Medical Entomology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida, USA.
Mahidol Vivax Research Unit, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.
IRD, UMR INTERTRYP IRD, CIRAD, University of Montpellier, F-34398, Montpellier, France.
Department of Medical Entomology, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. Electronic address:


Members of the Maculatus group are important malaria vectors in the border regions of Thailand. However, the role of each species in malaria transmission remains unclear because of their highly similar morphologies, making them difficult to be differentiated. Whereas An. pseudowillmori may be identified by the color pattern of some scales on abdomen and wings, the distinction between An. maculatus and An. sawadwongporni relies on the wings only. Scales are labile structures, as they may be accidentally removed during capture and transportation to the laboratory. To discriminate among the species of this group, we tested the suitability of geometric techniques. Shape variables were used as input for discriminant analyses and validated reclassification. Both landmark- and outline-based geometric techniques disclosed significant differences between the three species. For the delicate An. maculatus - An. sawadwongporni distinction, the outline-based approach appeared as the most promising, with validated reclassification scores reaching 93%, as compared to 77% obtained by landmark data. For An. pseudowillmori, reclassification scores were 100% and 94%, respectively. Geometric morphometrics may provide an alternative and useful complement for discriminating members of the Maculatus group.


Anopheles maculatus; Anopheles pseudowillmori; Anopheles sawadwongporni; Geometric morphometrics; Species identification

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