With the present state of environmental and climate change, there is a growing concern
about (re) emerging diseases, particularly those that are vector-borne. Of these, malaria is
the vector-borne disease with the highest impact on human population.
In a potential scenario of malaria resurgence in Europe, the rate of transmission of
Plasmodium parasites will be most certainly affected by patterns of structure and connectivity
among vector populations. This is the main subject of the present work, regarding the former
malaria mosquito vector in Portugal, Anopheles atroparvus.
Thus, we genotyped 10 microsatellite markers in mosquitoes collected at 10 sites in
Portugal, between 1993 and 2008.
Our data suggest a widespread gene flow over the country, and a positive correlation
between geographical distances and genetic differentiation among A. atroparvus
populations. Estimates of effective population size (Ne) based on temporal samples ranged
between 1990 and 12197. Tests of "bottleneck effect" suggest a population contraction in
almost all populations sampled. These results can be explained by the intensive anti-vector
campaign taken in the past (until 1970s). This present population structure assessment of A.
atroparvus in Portugal constitutes the background knowledge of the last 15 years.
We recommend that the assessment of ecological, biological and genetic parameters of
sentinel-localities should be maintained in the future. These should include areas of tourism
and with migrant human populations.