The tree that hides the forest: cryptic diversity and phylogenetic relationships in the Palaearctic vector Obsoletus/Scoticus Complex (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) at the European level

Mignotte Antoine, Garros Claire, Gardes Laëtitia, Balenghien Thomas, Duhayon Maxime, Rakotoarivony Ignace, Tabourin Laura, Poujol Léa, Mathieu Bruno, Ibáñez-Justicia Adolfo, Deniz Ahmet, Cvetkovikj Aleksandar, Purse Bethan V., Ramilo David, et al.. 2020. The tree that hides the forest: cryptic diversity and phylogenetic relationships in the Palaearctic vector Obsoletus/Scoticus Complex (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) at the European level. Parasites and Vectors, 13:265, 13 p.

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Abstract : Background: Culicoides obsoletus is an abundant and widely distributed Holarctic biting midge species, involved in the transmission of bluetongue virus (BTV) and Schmallenberg virus (SBV) to wild and domestic ruminants. Females of this vector species are often reported jointly with two morphologically very close species, C. scoticus and C. montanus, forming the Obsoletus/Scoticus Complex. Recently, cryptic diversity within C. obsoletus was reported in geographically distant sites. Clear delineation of species and characterization of genetic variability is mandatory to revise their taxonomic status and assess the vector role of each taxonomic entity. Our objectives were to characterize and map the cryptic diversity within the Obsoletus/Scoticus Complex. Methods: Portion of the cox1 mitochondrial gene of 3763 individuals belonging to the Obsoletus/Scoticus Complex was sequenced. Populations from 20 countries along a Palaearctic Mediterranean transect covering Scandinavia to Canary islands (North to South) and Canary islands to Turkey (West to East) were included. Genetic diversity based on cox1 barcoding was supported by 16S rDNA mitochondrial gene sequences and a gene coding for ribosomal 28S rDNA. Species delimitation using a multi-marker methodology was used to revise the current taxonomic scheme of the Obsoletus/Scoticus Complex. Results: Our analysis showed the existence of three phylogenetic clades (C. obsoletus clade O2, C. obsoletus clade dark and one not yet named and identified) within C. obsoletus. These analyses also revealed two intra-specific clades within C. scoticus and raised questions about the taxonomic status of C. montanus. Conclusions: To our knowledge, our study provides the first genetic characterization of the Obsoletus/Scoticus Complex on a large geographical scale and allows a revision of the current taxonomic classification for an important group of vector species of livestock viruses in the Palaearctic region.

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Culicoides, Vecteur de maladie, Phylogénie, Taxonomie, ADN mitochondrial, Arn ribosomal, Région paléarctique

Mots-clés complémentaires : espèce cryptique, Culicoides obseletus, Culicoides scoticus, Culicoides montanus

Mots-clés libres : Culicoides spp., Cryptic species, Phylogeny, Taxonomy, Species delimitation, Palaearctic Region, Biting midge

Classification Agris : L73 - Animal diseases

Champ stratégique Cirad : CTS 4 (2019-) - Santé des plantes, des animaux et des écosystèmes

Agence(s) de financement européenne(s) : European Commission

Programme de financement européen : H2020

Projet(s) de financement européen(s) : Understanding pathogen, livestock, environment interactions involving bluetongue virus

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Mignotte Antoine, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR ASTRE (FRA) - auteur correspondant
  • Garros Claire, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR ASTRE (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0003-4378-5031 - auteur correspondant
  • Gardes Laëtitia, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR ASTRE (GLP)
  • Balenghien Thomas, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR ASTRE (MAR)
  • Duhayon Maxime, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR ASTRE (FRA)
  • Rakotoarivony Ignace, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR ASTRE (FRA)
  • Tabourin Laura, Université de Montpellier (FRA)
  • Poujol Léa, Université de Montpellier (FRA)
  • Mathieu Bruno, Université de Strasbourg (FRA)
  • Ibáñez-Justicia Adolfo, Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (NLD)
  • Deniz Ahmet, Veterinary Control and Research Institute (TUR)
  • Cvetkovikj Aleksandar, Université Saints-Cyrille-et-Méthode de Skopje (MKD)
  • Purse Bethan V., NERC (GBR)
  • Ramilo David, Universidade de Lisboa (PRT)
  • et al.

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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