We report sympatry among larval populations of the Culicoides variipennis complex in widespread and diverse aquatic habitats throughout the United States. Six sites in California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas were co-inhabited by C. v. occidentalis and C. v. sonorensis, whereas 8 sites in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, and Texas were co-occupied by C. v. sonorensis and C. v. variipennis. No intermediate forms were identified either electrophoretically or morphologically in adults reared from field-collected larvae and pupae. The absence of intergrades in zones of sympatry represents sufficient evidence to confirm species status for Culicoides variipennis (Coquillett) and Culicoides occidentalis Wirth & Jones, and to elevate Culicoides sonorensis to species rank (NEW STATUS). Culicoides v. albertensis Wirth & Jones is a synonym of C. sonorensis (NEW SYNONYMY); C. v. australis Wirth & Jones also is confirmed as a synonym of C. sonorensis. We also demonstrated a correlation between population taxonomic status as determined by electrophoresis and adult morphology.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1