Low coverage of species constrains the use of DNA barcoding to assess mosquito biodiversity
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2024

Mosquitoes (Culicidae) represent the main vector insects globally, and they also inhabit many of the terrestrial and aquatic habitats of the world. DNA barcoding and metabarcoding are now widely used in both research and routine practices involving mosquitoes. However, these methodologies rely on information available in databases consisting of barcode sequences representing taxonomically identified voucher specimens. In this study, we assess the availability of public data for mosquitoes in the main online databases, focusing specifically on the two most widely used DNA barcoding markers in Culicidae: COI and ITS2. In addition, we test hypotheses on possible factors affecting species coverage (i.e., the percentage of species covered in the online databases) for COI in different countries and the occurrence of the DNA barcode gap for COI. Our findings showed differences in the data publicly available in the repositories, with a taxonomic or species coverage of 28.4–30.11% for COI in BOLD + GenBank, and 12.32% for ITS2 in GenBank. Afrotropical, Australian and Oriental biogeographic regions had the lowest coverages, while Nearctic, Palearctic and Oceanian had the highest. The Neotropical region had an intermediate coverage. In general, countries with a higher diversity of mosquitoes and higher numbers of medically important species had lower coverage. Moreover, countries with a higher number of endemic species tended to have a higher coverage. Although our DNA barcode gap analyses suggested that the species boundaries need to be revised in half of the mosquito species available in the databases, additional data must be gathered to confirm these results and to allow explaining the occurrence of the DNA barcode gap. We hope this study can help guide regional species inventories of mosquitoes and the completion of a publicly available reference library of DNA barcodes for all mosquito species.


Maurício Moraes Zenker

Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos

Tatiana Pineda Portella

Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP)

Felipe Arley Costa Pessoa

Fiocruz Amazônia

Johan Bengtsson Palme

Chalmers, Life sciences, Systembiologi

Göteborgs universitet

Pedro Manoel Galetti

Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos

Scientific Reports

2045-2322 (ISSN) 20452322 (eISSN)

Vol. 14 1 7432


Hållbar utveckling


Biologisk systematik





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