Because of the relative epidemiological significance of Triatoma sordida, T. guasayana and T. patagonica, and the need to resolve doubts about their taxonomic validity, we report here a detailed taxonomic comparison of the three species using multivariate analysis of morphometric measures combined with comparisons of their genitalia and antennal structures. From the 17 metric variables studied, the length of the second segment of the rostrum and the anteocular length provided a discrimination function able to separate without error T. sordida from T. guasayana and T. patagonica. The multivariate discriminant functions classified T. guasayana and T. patagonica with an error of 2.44%. Comparison of the male genitalia of T. guasayana and T. sordida showed that there are minor differences in the articulatory apparatus, the median process of the pygophore, the phallosome support and the vesica, with bigger differences in the endosomal process and the phallosome. However, the already described male genitalia of T. patagonica is very similar to that of T. sordida. Analysis of antennal structure by scanning electron microscope showed that sensilla distribution around the pedicel is slightly different in the three species and sensilla density is highest in T. sordida and lowest in T. patagonica. The study showed that the three species form a closely related group. The results confirm the earlier classification of sordida and guasayana as separate species, but they raise some doubts about the taxonomic status of T. patagonica.
Chagas disease transmission can be effetively interrupted by insecticidal control of its triatomine bug vectors. We present here a simple model comparing the costs and benefits of such a programme, designed to eliminate domestic populations of Triatoma infestans throughout its known area of distribution over the seven southernmost countries of Latin America. The model has been simplified to require only four financial estimates relating to the unit cost of housing spraying and benefits due to avoidance of premature death in the acute phase of the disease, avoidance of supportive treatment and care in the chronic phase of the disease, and avoidance of corrective digestive and cardiac surgery. Exceptfor these direct medical costs, al other potential benefits have been ignored. Nevertheless, the model shows that the direct financial benefits of such a programme would far outweigh the costs, and the project would support a remarkably high internal rate of return under the least optimistic estimates.