The emerging vector of Chagas disease, Triatoma maculata (Hemiptera, Reduviidae), is one of the most widely distributed Triatoma species in northern South America. Despite its increasing relevance as a vector, no consistent picture of the magnitude of genetic and phenetic diversity has yet been developed. Here, several populations of T. maculata from eleven Colombia and Venezuela localities were analyzed based on the morphometry of wings and the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit 4 (ND4) gene sequences. Our results showed clear morphometric and genetic differences among Colombian and Venezuelan populations, indicating high intraspecific diversity. Inter-population divergence is suggested related to East Cordillera in Colombia. Analyses of other populations from Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil from distinct eco-geographic regions are still needed to understand its systematics and phylogeography as well as its actual role as a vector of Chagas disease.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1