The current study aimed to provide further evidence on the status of species composition, insecticide resistance, and vectorial capacity within the members of Anopheles (Anopheles) Hyrcanus Group in Ardebil, Giulan, and Khuzestan provinces of Iran. Sequencing the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) of ribosomal DNA gene led to identification of two members of Hyrcanus complex: Anopheles hyrcanus Pallas and a new species/form, hereafter called Anopheles hyrcanus spIR as a world record. Furthermore, we identified and compared partial sequences of exons I and II and the whole intron I region of insecticide resistance-related voltage-gated sodium channel (vgsc) gene in populations of Hyrcanus Group and other main old world Anopheles species. The ITS2 and vgsc sequences in members of Hyrcanus Group and other Anopheles species were used for construction of phylogenetic tree, which demonstrated the evolutionary relatedness among Western and Eastern Palearctic taxa within the Hyrcanus Group. A nested polymerase chain reaction assay for detection of Plasmodium species revealed the infection of Plasmodium falciparum within An. hyrcanus collected from Fooman district in Guilan province. The data from this study led to the introduction of a new member/form within the Hyrcanus Group, identification and definition of the status of knockdown resistance related to pyrethroids and DDT in their vgsc gene, detection of Plasmodium infection, and further evidence on genetic relatedness within these taxa. The overall results may suggest reconsidering the role of An. hyrcanus in malaria transmission, which would be useful for implementation and evaluation of malaria control programs in Western Palearctic region.
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Vol. 46 • No. 5