Background: Luba is one of the four historical foci of Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) on Bioko Island, in Equatorial Guinea. Although no human cases have been detected since 1995, T. b. gambiense was recently observed in the vector Glossina palpalis palpalis. The existence of cryptic species within this vector taxon has been previously suggested, although no data are available regarding the evolutionary history of tsetse flies populations in Bioko. Methods. A phylogenetic analysis of 60 G. p. palpalis from Luba was performed sequencing three mitochondrial (COI, ND2 and 16S) and one nuclear (rDNA-ITS1) DNA markers. Phylogeny reconstruction was performed by Distance Based, Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference methods. Results: The COI and ND2 mitochondrial genes were concatenated and revealed 10 closely related haplotypes with a dominant one found in 61.1% of the flies. The sequence homology of the other 9 haplotypes compared to the former ranged from 99.6 to 99.9%. Phylogenetic analysis clearly clustered all island samples with flies coming from the Western African Clade (WAC), and separated from the flies belonging to the Central Africa Clade (CAC), including samples from Mbini and Kogo, two foci of mainland Equatorial Guinea. Consistent with mitochondrial data, analysis of the microsatellite motif present in the ITS1 sequence exhibited two closely related genotypes, clearly divergent from the genotypes previously identified in Mbini and Kogo. Conclusions: We report herein that tsetse flies populations circulating in Equatorial Guinea are composed of two allopatric subspecies, one insular and the other continental. The presence of these two G. p. palpalis cryptic taxa in Equatorial Guinea should be taken into account to accurately manage vector control strategy, in a country where trypanosomiasis transmission is controlled but not definitively eliminated yet.
- Equatorial Guinea
- Glossina palpalis palpalis