Sand flies (Diptera, Psychodidae, Phlebotominae), vectors of Leishmania protozoa, at an Atlantic Forest Conservation Unit in the municipality of Nísia Floresta, Rio Grande do Norte state, Brazil

Parasit Vectors. 2016 Feb 11:9:83. doi: 10.1186/s13071-016-1352-5.


Background: Sand flies are insect vectors of protozoa from the genus Leishmania, causative parasites of visceral and American tegumentary leishmaniases. The present study discusses the bioecological aspects of sand fly species, transmitters of Leishmania protozoa, in different ecotopes of an Atlantic Forest Conservation Unit located in the metropolitan region of Natal, Rio Grande do Norte state, Brazil.

Methods: Two monthly captures were made in 1 year, using CDC light traps, in two anthropized and two preserved environments.

Results: A total of 2936 sand flies belonging to the following ten species were captured: Evandromyia walkeri, Evandromyia evandroi, Psychodopygus wellcomei, Sciopemyia sordellii, Psathyromyia brasiliensis, Lutzomyia longipalpis, Evandromyia lenti, Psathyromyia shannoni, Nyssomyia whitmani and Nyssomyia intermedia. The most common species was E. walkeri (77.6%), followed by E. evandroi (17.5%). Forest was the site with the greatest abundance (32.4%), followed by bamboo grove (26.3%).

Conclusions: Sand flies were generally more abundant in the rainy season and L. longipalpis, a vector species of Leishmania infantum, was adapted to anthropized environments. It was confirmed that P. wellcomei, a vector of Leishmania braziliensis in Amazônia, is a species associated with more preserved environments, and occurs only in the rainy season.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brazil
  • Cities
  • Forests
  • Insect Vectors / growth & development*
  • Insect Vectors / parasitology*
  • Leishmania braziliensis / isolation & purification*
  • Leishmania infantum / isolation & purification*
  • Psychodidae / growth & development*
  • Psychodidae / parasitology*