Evaluating the morphological and molecular challenges in identifying the afrotropical Atylotus species (Diptera: Tabanidae)

17 Jan 2022

The Afrotropical fly genus, Atylotus has previously shown little differentiation into species groups using the barcode gene COI. This study analysed all available Atylotus COI sequences from GenBank and BOLD to determine if COI is suitable for delimiting species of this genus. Morphological assessments of the different Afrotropical species were done to determine if these species have been accurately identified in recent publications. The results show that COI does not separate the species of this genus into species clades and these species are often misidentified in the literature. This is of concern as species of this genus are known vectors of pathogens and misidentifications have serious implications for management practices. Additional genes need to be used in future molecular studies to differentiate species.