Resistance to organophosphorus and pyrethroid insecticides in Culex pipiens (Diptera: Culicidae) from Tunisia

J Med Entomol. 1998 May;35(3):251-60. doi: 10.1093/jmedent/35.3.251.


Resistance to the organophosphates temephos and chlorpyrifos, the carbamate propoxur, the pyrethroid permethrin, and the organochloride DDT was investigated in Tunisian populations of Culex pipiens pipiens (L.) collected between 1990 and 1996. Resistance to temephos was uniformly low, reaching 10-fold in the most resistant population. In contrast, resistance to chlorpyrifos was highly variable, reaching the highest level (> 10,000-fold) recorded worldwide. The chlorpyrifos-resistant populations also were highly resistant to propoxur. Some populations also showed high resistance to permethrin (up to 5,000-fold) and moderate resistance to DDT (approximately 20-fold). Bioassays conducted in the presence of synergists showed that increased detoxification had only a minor role in resistance, although several over-produced esterases known to be involved in organophosphate resistance were detected. To better understand the factors influencing the distribution of resistance in Tunisia, the polymorphism of genes involved in organophosphate resistance (i.e., over-produced esterases and insensitive acetylcholinesterase) was investigated in relation to the genetic structure of populations studied by analyzing the electrophoretic polymorphism of "neutral" genes. Over the area studied, and despite a high level of gene flow, resistance genes showed a patchy distribution. Results are discussed in relation to the selection pressure caused by insecticide treatments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Chlorpyrifos / pharmacology
  • Culex / drug effects*
  • Culex / enzymology
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genotype
  • Geography
  • Insecticide Resistance
  • Insecticides / pharmacology*
  • Permethrin
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Propoxur / pharmacology
  • Pyrethrins / pharmacology*
  • Temefos / pharmacology
  • Tunisia


  • Insecticides
  • Pyrethrins
  • Permethrin
  • Propoxur
  • Chlorpyrifos
  • Temefos