Recognition of a novel melanotic mutant in a field population of Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus in southern Zambia

Rebekah J. Kent, Sungano Mharakurwa, Harry Hamapumbu, Douglas E. Norris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Genetic mutations controlling eye color, fat body color, structural abnormalities, and insecticide resistance are common in mosquitoes. We have identified a novel color variant of Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus characterized by a heavily pigmented integument in adult specimens circulating in field populations of this species in southern Zambia. Mosquitoes were collected monthly by pyrethrum spray catch between November and May 2004-05 and 2005-06, with between 25% and 80% of the total Cx. p. quinquefasciatus collections comprising this pigmented variety. The identity of pigmented specimens was morphologically confirmed as Cx. p. quinquefasciatus by examination of orientation of the dorsal and ventral arms of the male genitalia of F1 male progeny reared in the laboratory, and molecularly verified by diagnostic polymerase chain reaction and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate dehydrogenase subunit 4 nucleotide sequence homology. Preliminary laboratory rearings indicated that the pigmentation was heritable and not influenced by larval habitat and environmental conditions. Further investigation into the mechanism of the mutation, inheritance patterns, and potential linkage to additional markers is pending.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-75
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Mosquito Control Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus
  • Macha
  • Melanotic mutant
  • Zambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Insect Science


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