In southern Europe, orbiviral diseases such as bluetongue (BT) have been assumed to have been largely transmitted by the classical Afro-Asian vector Culicoides imicola Kieffer (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Recent outbreaks have occurred in regions where C. imicola is normally absent, supporting the theory that other species belonging to the Obsoletus or Pulicaris complexes may play a role in BT virus transmission. Investigations of the ecology of the species within the former group are hampered by females of member species being extremely difficult to separate by classical morphology. To allow straightforward separation of these species in France, a multiplex polymerase chain reaction-based on internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-1 rDNA was developed to distinguish between Culicoides chiopterus Meigen, Culicoides dewulfi Goetghebuer, Culicoides montanus Shakirjanova, Culicoides obsoletus Meigen, and Culicoides scoticus Downes & Kettle. This tool will be useful in defining both the vector role and larval biotopes of these species in Europe.
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Vol. 44 • No. 6