The northernmost focus forOnchocerca volvulusLeuckhart (Nematoda: Onchocercidae), the causative agent of human onchocerciasis, is found along the Nile near the town of Abu Hamed in Sudan. The vector forO. volvulusat this focus is a single monomorphic population ofSimulium (Edwardsellum) damnosumTheobald. This black fly population is limited to a small area between the fourth and fifth cataracts of the Nile River that is isolated geographically from all other populations ofS. damnosumsensu lato. Phylogenies produced from cytological analyses and sequence data derived from the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 4 and 16S rRNA genes indicate that Abu Hamed black flies are similar to, but distinct from, the savanna-dwelling sibling species ofS. damnosums.l.,Simulium (Edwardsellum) damnosumsensu strictu Theobald, andS. (Edwardsellum) sirbanumVajime & Dunbar. The DNA sequence and the cytological data support the hypothesis that the black fly population present in Abu Hamed may represent a new sibling species ofS. damnosums.l. We propose that this population be informally designated as the hamedense form of theSimulium damnosumcomplex.
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Vol. 37 • No. 4