Temporal variation of wing geometry in Aedes albopictus


Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz




Although native to the tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia, Aedes albopictus is now found on five continents, primarily due to its great capacity to adapt to different environments. This species is considered a secondary vector of dengue virus in several countries. Wing geometric morphometrics is widely used to furnish morphological markers for the characterisation and identification of species of medical importance and for the assessment of population dynamics. In this work, we investigated the metric differentiation of the wings of Ae. albopictus samples collected over a four-year period (2007-2010) in São Paulo, Brazil. Wing size significantly decreased during this period for both sexes and the wing shape also changed over time, with the wing shapes of males showing greater differences after 2008 and those of females differing more after 2009. Given that the wings play sex-specific roles, these findings suggest that the males and females could be affected by differential evolutionary pressures. Consistent with this hypothesis, a sexually dimorphic pattern was detected and quantified: the females were larger than the males (with respect to the mean) and had a distinct wing shape, regardless of allometric effects. In conclusion, wing alterations, particularly those involving shape, are a sensitive indicator of microevolutionary processes in this species.

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