The biology of Simulium noelleri and Simulium dolini: morphological, ecological and molecular data

  • M. O. Zinchenko Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University
  • K. B. Sukhomlin Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University
  • O. P. Zinchenko Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University
  • V. S. Tepliuk Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University
Keywords: blackflies; noelleri species group; Ukraine; mitochondrial DNA; mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI); taxonomy; genetic differences


Molecular genetic research has revolutionized the taxonomy and systematics of the Simuliidae family. Simulium noelleri Friederichs, 1920 is a species of blackfly, common in the Holarctic, reported for 33 countries. In 1954, Topchiev recorded it in Ukraine for the first time. Simulium dolini Usova et Sukhomlin, 1989 has been recorded at the borders of Ukraine and Belarus. It was described for the first time by Usova and Sukhomlin in 1989 from the collection from the territory of Volyn region in 1985. Usova and Sukhomlin, Yankovsky, Adler state that S. noelleri and S. dolini are different species by the morphological characteristics that differ in all phases of development. Adults differ in the structure of the genital appendages, palps, the margin and shape of the face and forehead, the colour of the legs; the larva – in the pattern on the frontal capsule, the number of rays in the fans, mandibular teeth and the hypostoma, the structure of the hind organ of attachment; pupae – in the branching way of gills. Molecular data are becoming an increasingly important tool in insect taxonomy. Therefore, we had to check that these two closely related species also have genetic difference. The development of S. noelleri and S. dolini was studied in four small rivers of Volyn region, Ukraine (Chornohuzka, Konopelka, Putylivka, Omelyanivka) in the period from 2017 to 2019. During initial processing of insect samples, we used the standard protocols EPPO PM7/129. We obtained the nucleotide sequence of S. dolini. It was proved that the populations of S. noelleri and S. dolini from medium and small rivers of Volyn differ in biological, morphological, behavioural and genetic characteristics. Comparison of the species S. noelleri with the data of the GenBank confirms the identification of three distinct morphotypes from Volyn, Great Britain and Canada. As a result of the conducted researches, it was confirmed that two close species of S. dolini and S. noelleri from the noelleri species group differ in the structure of mitochondrial DNA, which confirms their independent taxonomic status. Additional studies comprising more individuals from larger areas of Europe are required to verify the taxonomic position of these two species.


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