Morphological characters can be used to distinguish the vast majority of triatomine species, but the existence of high levels of phenotypic plasticity and recently diverged species can lead to erroneous determinations. To approach this problem, we analyzed the male and female morphologies of the scutella of Triatoma barberi, T. dimidiata, T. lecticularia, T. mexicana, T. recurva, T. rubida, and two sub-species, T. protracta protracta and T. protracta nahuatlae. Scutellum samples were observed by scanning electron microscopy and subjected to morphological analysis and morphometric investigation using a canonical discriminant analysis. The results revealed differences primarily in central depression shape, posterior process, and vestiture. We observed clear dimension-based differences in scutellum morphometry in all the taxa under study, providing sound evidence for species and subspecies differentiation. On the other hand, there is no difference between sexes in T. lecticularia, T. protracta protracta, and T. protracta nahuatlae. Our methodology can be implemented to differentiate species of the genus Triatoma.
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Vol. 42 • No. 2