Morphometrics of domestic Panstrongylus rufotuberculatus in Bolivia

Dujardin JP, Forgues G, Torres M, Martínez E, Córdoba C, Gianella A

    The trend to domesticity in Triatominae may represent a transitionary phase towards increasing vectorial importance in the trasmission of Chagas disease to humans, and requires sustained entomological surveillance. Although generally considered a sylvatic species, Panstrongylus rufotuberculatus has been recently captured inside human dwellings in the provinces of Nor Yungas and Muñecas in the Department of La Paz, Bolivia, providing evidence of this species´ ability to colonise dommestic habitats. The results of previous research on domestic and sylvatic specimens of other species of Triatominae indicate the morphometrics could be used to monitor this adaptative process. The most like cause of differences seen in the size and shape of bugs from domestic colonies of P. rufotuberculatus from two neighbouring villages in Bolivia is probably genetic drift rather than environmental influences. Comparisons with allopatric sylvatic specimens, including the holotype of P. rufotuberculatus, showed a general reduction in size from sylvatic to domestic specimens.