The major drivers of the extensive biodiversity of the Neotropics are proposed to be geological and tectonic events together with Pliocene and Pleistocene environmental and climatic change. Geographical barriers represented by the rivers Amazonas/Solimões, the Andes and the coastal mountain ranges in eastern Brazil have been hypothesized to lead to diversification within the primary malaria vector, Anopheles(Nyssorhynchus) darlingi Root, which primarily inhabits rainforest. To test this biogeographical hypothesis, we analyzed 786 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 12 populations of An. darlingi from across the complex Brazilian landscape. Both model-based (STRUCTURE) and non-model-based (Principal Components and Discriminant Analysis) analysis of population structure detected three major genetic clusters that correspond with newly described Neotropical biogeographical regions: 1) Atlantic Forest province (= southeast population); 2) Parana Forest province (= West Atlantic forest population, with one Chacoan population - SP); and 3) Brazilian dominion population (= Amazonian population with one Chacoan population - TO). Significant levels of pairwise genetic divergences were found among the three clusters, allele sharing among clusters was negligible, and geographical distance did not contribute to differentiation. We infer that the Atlantic forest coastal mountain range limited dispersal between the Atlantic Forest province and the Parana Forest province populations, and that the large, diagonal open vegetation region of the Chacoan dominion dramatically reduced dispersal between the Parana and Brazilian dominion populations. We hypothesize that the three genetic clusters may represent three putative species.
Emerson, K. J., Conn, J. E., Bergo, E. S., Randel, M. A., & Sallum, M. A. M. (2015). Brazilian Anopheles darlingi root (Diptera: Culicidae) clusters by major biogeographical region. PLoS ONE, 10(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0130773