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Journal Articles Molecular Ecology Year : 2015

Colonization of the Mediterranean basin by the vector biting midge species Culicoides imicola: an old story

1 UMR CMAEE - Contrôle des maladies animales exotiques et émergentes
2 MIVEGEC - Maladies infectieuses et vecteurs : écologie, génétique, évolution et contrôle
3 ISA - Institut Sophia Agrobiotech
4 Faculty of Life Sciences [Manchester]
5 CYROI - Cyclotron Réunion Océan Indien
6 USDA-ARS : Agricultural Research Service
7 IPPTS - Institut de Parasitologie et de Pathologie Tropicale
8 Umeå University
9 Regional Veterinary Laboratory of Draa-Ben-Kheda [Tizi-Ouzou]
10 LNERV - Laboratoire National d'Elevage et de Recherches Vétérinaires [Dakar]
11 UPR AGIRs - Animal et gestion intégrée des risques
12 UZ - University of Zimbabwe
13 IZSAM - Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale dell'Abruzzo e del Molise Guiseppe Caporale
14 Koret School of Veterinary Medicine
15 Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization Sericulture
16 ARC - OVI - Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute
17 ONSSA - Office National de Sécurité Sanitaire des Produits Alimentaires [Maroc]
18 Departamento de Patologia Animal [Zaragoza]
19 UPR HORTSYS - Fonctionnement agroécologique et performances des systèmes de cultures horticoles
20 Plant Health Department [Nairobi]
21 Entente interdépartementale pour la démoustication du littoral méditerranéen
22 Univ Balearics UIB
23 Laboratory of Zoology [Palma de Mallorca]
24 CReSA - Centre de Recerca en Sanitat Animal [UAB, Spain]
25 CIISA - Centro de Investigaçao Interdisciplinar em Sanidade Animal
26 CEFE - Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
27 LR11IPT06 - Laboratoire de Parasitologie Médicale, Biotechnologies et Biomolécules
28 Univ Zimbabwe
29 MIVEGEC-EVCO - Evolution of host-microbe communities
A. Desvars
  • Function : Author
M. Zimba
  • Function : Author
C. Chevillon


Understanding the demographic history and genetic make-up of colonizing species is critical for inferring population sources and colonization routes. This is of main interest for designing accurate control measures in areas newly colonized by vector species of economically important pathogens. The biting midge Culicoides imicola is a major vector of orbiviruses to livestock. Historically, the distribution of this species was limited to the Afrotropical region. Entomological surveys first revealed the presence of C. imicola in the south of the Mediterranean basin by the 1970s. Following recurrent reports of massive bluetongue outbreaks since the 1990s, the presence of the species was confirmed in northern areas. In this study, we addressed the chronology and processes of C. imicola colonization in the Mediterranean basin. We characterized the genetic structure of its populations across Mediterranean and African regions using both mitochondrial and nuclear markers, and combined phylogeographical analyses with population genetics and approximate Bayesian computation. We found a west/east genetic differentiation between populations, occurring both within Africa and within the Mediterranean basin. We demonstrated that three of these groups had experienced demographic expansions in the Pleistocene, probably because of climate changes during this period. Finally, we showed that C. imicola could have colonized the Mediterranean basin in the Late Pleistocene or Early Holocene through a single event of introduction; however, we cannot exclude the hypothesis involving two routes of colonization. Thus, the recent bluetongue outbreaks are not linked to C. imicola colonization event, but rather to biological changes in the vector or the virus.

Dates and versions

pasteur-01375024 , version 1 (05-06-2017)



S. Jacquet, C. Garros, E. Lombaert, C. Walton, J. Restrepo, et al.. Colonization of the Mediterranean basin by the vector biting midge species Culicoides imicola: an old story. Molecular Ecology, 2015, 24 (22), pp.5707-5725. ⟨10.1111/mec.13422⟩. ⟨pasteur-01375024⟩
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