We determined nucleotide sequences of the nuclear rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS)1–5.8S-ITS2a-2S-ITS2 region in 103 individuals of 25 Culicoides species (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) from 11 locations in Japan. Ribosomal RNA genes, 5.8S and 2S rDNA, were highly conserved among the species with few variations. The ITS2a region showed length variation among species. Both ITS1 and ITS2 showed highly varied sequences among species. The noticeable indel regions among ITS1 sequences are present in some Culicoides species, separating species into two types having long or short ITS1 region. However, Culicoides cylindratus Kitaoka possesses both types of ITS1 in each individual; these results seem to indicate that the ITS1-long type was the prototype and the short type was produced through deletion in many Culicoides species. One species, belonging to subgenus Avaritia, possessed an Avaritia-specific sequence in ITS1 and phylogenetically formed a monophyletic group. Geographical genotypes in a species were not clear. Species-specific sequence features were observed, enabling molecular identification of Culicoides species.
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Vol. 46 • No. 5