In vector control terms, insecticide resistance is the development of the capacity, of an insect population, to tolerate doses of an insecticide that are lethal to most individuals in a typical population of the same species. The genetic changes that determine resistance may have adaptive costs in the resistant phenotype or, conversely, may result in an adaptive advantage when compared to susceptible insects in the environment without insecticides. Triatoma infestans is one of the main vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi in the southern cone of South America. High insecticide resistance in T. infestans was detected in Argentina in Salta and Chaco provinces. The objective of this study was to determine the possible morphometric changes in wings, heads, and the antennal phenotype of deltamethrin-resistant T. infestans (RR) males and females compared to susceptible insects (SS), evaluating its implication in adaptive processes such as olfactory capacity, dispersion, and probability of colonizing new habitats, among others. Nine type I landmarks were marked on wings, 5 type II landmarks on heads, and 10 antennal sensilla were counted on 106 adults of both sexes (resistant and susceptible from first and second laboratory generations). Morphological divergence was observed between the two groups (RR and SS). The RR insects showed smaller sizes of wings and heads and shape compatible with lower dispersal potential and different active dispersal behaviors. Antennae also revealed sensory simplification in RR and divergence between RR and SS, although more marked in females. This study characterizes for the first time T. infestans RR and SS through wings, heads, and antennae. The results suggest a lower dispersive potential in resistant insects and the differences described lay the foundations for the identification of a resistance biomarker in triatomines.
Keywords: Chagas disease; Geometric morphometry, Antennae; Resistance; Triatominae.
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