Transmission foci of autochthonous malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax-like parasites have frequently been reported in the Atlantic Forest in Southeastern and Southern Brazil. Evidence suggests that malaria is a zoonosis in these areas as human infections by simian Plasmodium species have been detected, and the main vector of malaria in the Atlantic Forest, Anopheles (Kerteszia) cruzii, can blood feed on human and simian hosts.
Fragmentation of natural environments as a result of human interference has been associated with a decrease in species richness and increase in abundance of a few species that have adapted to these environments. The Brazilian Atlantic Forest, which has been undergoing an intense process of fragmentation and deforestation caused by human-made changes to the environment, is an important hotspot for malaria transmission.
We explored the homogeneity of the An. cruzii population across its altitudinal range of distribution using wing shape and mtDNA gene analysis. We also assessed the stability of wing geometry over time.