The reliability of the length of wing radial vein r2/3 as a character for the morphological discrimination of the two potential arbovirus vectors Culex pipiens s.s. and Cx. torrentium from Germany was reassessed, after this character had been neglected for more than 40 years. Additionally, multivariate morphometric analyses were applied to evaluate wing shape variation between both species. Although high-throughput molecular tools are now available to differentiate the two species, a simple, low-cost routine alternative may be useful in the absence of a molecular laboratory, such as under semi-field conditions. A thin-plate splines transformation confirmed that primarily the shrinkage of vein r2/3 is responsible for the wing differences between the two species. In the bivariate analysis, the r2/3/r3 indices of Cx. pipiens s.s. and Cx. torrentium were 0.185 and 0.289, respectively, resulting in a correct classification of more than 91% of all tested specimens. Using the absolute length of vein r2/3 alone still allowed for more than 90% accurate discrimination. Furthermore, classification accuracy of linear discriminant analysis exceeded 97%.
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Vol. 39 • No. 1