Historically, malaria was a significant cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the western United States, and Anopheles freeborni Aitken was thought to be the vector west of the Continental Divide. In 1989, Anopheles hermsi Barr & Guptavanij was described and subsequently found to be an effective laboratory vector of Plasmodium. The adults of these two species are morphologically indistinguishable, and therefore polymerase chain reaction was used to analyze the DNA from 48 mosquitoes collected in Arizona and Colorado (identified morphologically as An. freeborni). All specimens were identified as An. hermsi. This was the first report of An. hermsi in Arizona and Colorado and indicated that this Anopheles species historically may have been a malaria vector in these two western states.
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Vol. 38 • No. 2