Phylogenomics of Culicomorpha

Origins of hematophagy in dipterans

While blood feeding behaviour is often associated to mosquitoes, only 10% of mosquitoes species are supposed to be potential vectors of disease for humans (Yee et al., 2022). Because research focus on species of human health interest origins of such a behaviour remain poorly understood.

True flies (Diptera) show multiple emmergence of blood feeding behaviour (Wiegmann et al., 2011) with at least 12 distinct origins. These various origin show a convergence of the blood feeding behaviour, but are the mechanisms involved in this behaviour convergent too?

Here we use phylogenomic analysis to generate a new phylogeny of Culicomorpha and Psychodomorpha groups to investigate the evolution of genes in parallel in Culicidae (mosquitoes) and Psychodidae (sandflies). Using comparative genomic analysis we investigate the evolution of gene families to detect gene families diversification (i.e., duplications) and loses under selective pressure due to hematophagy behaviour. The goal of this project is to detect genes that can be involved in (1) the emergence of blood feeding, and (2) in the specialisation to a specific host (such as human).


Wiegmann, B.M., Trautwein, M.D., Winkler, I.S., Barr, N.B., Kim, J.-W., Lambkin, C., et al. (2011) Episodic radiations in the fly tree of life. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 5690–5695.

Yee, D.A., Dean Bermond, C., Reyes-Torres, L.J., Fijman, N.S., Scavo, N.A., Nelsen, J., et al. (2022) Robust network stability of mosquitoes and human pathogens of medical importance. Parasites & Vectors, 15, 216.