Desktop version

Home arrow Economics arrow American Trypanosomiasis Chagas Disease, Second Edition: One Hundred Years of Research


Classification and systematics of the Triatominae

M.D. Bargues1, C. Schofield2 and J.-P Dujardin3

1Universidad de Valencia, Burjassot Valencia, Spain, 2London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and ECLAT Net Work, United Kingdom, 3Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement (IRD), UMR 177 Intertryp, Montpellier, France

Chapter Outline

Introduction 114 Subfamily: Triatominae 114 Tribes and genera 118

Tribe: Alberproseniini (genus Alberprosenia) 118

Tribe: Bolboderini (genera: Bolbodera, Belminus, Microtriatoma, Parabelminus) 120

Tribe: Cavernicolini (genus: Cavernicola) 121

Tribe: Rhodniini (genera: Psammolestes, Rhodnius) 121

Tribe: Triatomini (genera: Dipetalogaster, Eratyrus, Hermanlentia, Linshcosteus, Panstrongylus, Paratriatoma, Triatoma) 122

Concept of species 124

Historical concept 124

Modern concepts 125

R. prolixus and R. robustus 129

T. infestans, T. platensis, T. delpontei 129

T. infestans, T. melanosoma 129

The “dark morphs” of T. infestans 129

T. sordida, T. garciabesi 130

T. brasiliensis 130

T. eratyrusiformis 130

T. dimidiata 131

T. hegneri 131

Panstrongylus lignarius andP. herreri 132

Conclusions 132

The species level and the phylogenetic concepts 132 The species level and the nonphylogenetic concepts 133 A consensual approach to the species 133 Recommendations 134 Conclusion 134 Acknowledgment 135 References 135

American Trypanosomiasis Chagas Disease. DOI:

Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


In understanding biodiversity, taxonomy (classification) and systematics (including phylogenetics) work together, although the two terms are often confused. The objective of systematics is to understand the natural mechanisms responsible for the biodiversity, while the task of taxonomy is to set up a useful classification of the organisms concerned. In a sense, systematics provides guidelines for taxonomy to classify organisms according to accepted rules of nomenclature.1 But nevertheless, the two concepts face an inevitable conflict because classification and nomenclature are designed to be stable (ICZN) and of use to those considering other aspects of the organisms, whereas systematics is essentially a dynamic approach suggesting changes and adjustments as new data become available, and also inherently considering a dynamic system in which the units of study species or populations are liable to change with time and circumstance.

Divergence between the modern concepts of systematics starts at the definition given to the taxa they want to analyze, either single individuals,2 reproductively isolated populations,3,4 populations,5 or agglomerations of populations.6 In the case of the Triatominae, these problems are also evident from the epidemiological requirement (e.g., are these important vectors of Chagas disease, or not?) and the increasing wealth of data offering new insights to their evolution. An important body of literature explored the phylogeny of the Triatominae, making them a monophyletic,7-12 a polyphyletic, or a paraphyletic group. , Today, the evidence is that the Triatominae cannot be considered anymore as a monophyletic group, yet it would make no epidemiological sense to try to reclassify them in that light.18

Moreover, to the sometimes confusing classification for high rank taxa of Triatominae, one has to add their evident capacity to show phenetic drift at the species or subspecies level. Their frequent morphological divergence according to geography and associated ecological variation can give rise to local variants that tempt yet more specific, or even generic, designations.21-23

Other problems arise from the lack of clear consensus on taxonomic concepts. Not only is the subfamily itself poorly defined, such that some predatory reduviids have been erroneously described as Triatominae,24,25 but there is no consistent concept of features meriting tribal or generic rank, and considerable divergence on concepts of species, subspecies, and species complexes. In this chapter we summarize the current classification, and offer ways in which these concepts might be usefully reviewed.

Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >

Related topics