The identification of the members of the Culex pipiens L. complex in arbovirus surveillance programs relies heavily on the use of morphology. In this work, we studied Cx. pipiens complex male mosquitoes collected from nine different locations, from northern, southern, and the hybrid zone sites in North America; Cairo, Egypt; and Nairobi, Kenya. Specimens were identified using DV/D ratio and also using amplification of the acetylcholinesterase (ACE.2) gene by both conventional and real-time polymerase chain reaction, and examination of the CQ11 locus. Consistent with previous findings, the morphological and molecular identifications did not always agree, particularly in regions of extensive introgression. There was an increased frequency of hybrid forms in late summer and early fall in Champaign Co., IL, that is north of the previously described Cx. pipiens complex hybrid zone. This represents an expansion of the North American hybrid zone. The biological and epidemiological relevance of the high degree of introgression and the late season increase in the proportion of intermediate forms is discussed.
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Vol. 45 • No. 2