Background: Most sand fly species are located in the Americas; some act as vectors of leishmaniasis and other human diseases. In Bolivia, about 25% of Neotropical species have been identified, and only a few have been implicated as vectors of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis. A new species of anthropophilic sand fly from the sub-Andean region of Alto Beni is described herein.
Methods: A large systematic entomological survey was carried out in a subtropical humid forest located in the Marimonos mountain range, at around 900 m altitude, in the municipality of Palos Blancos, Sud Yungas Province, Department of La Paz, Bolivia. Sand flies were captured over a period of 26 months between January 1982 and February 1984, at the ground and canopy level, using both CDC light traps and protected human bait. A total of 24,730 sand flies were collected on the ground, distributed in 16 species, and 3259 in the canopy, with eight species. One of these species was labeled as Pintomia (Pifanomyia) nevesi, although certain morphological features allowed us to doubt that it was that taxon. To define the identity of this sand fly, a re-evaluation (this work) was recently carried out through morphological analyses and measurements of the available specimens mounted on Euparal, previously labeled as Pi. (Pif.) nevesi.
Results: Based on the morphological traits and measurements, the re-evaluated specimens were definitively identified as a new sand fly species, Pintomyia (Pifanomyia) veintemillasi, closely related to Pi. (Pif.) nevesi and Pintomyia (Pifanomyia) maranonensis within the Evansi series. This new sand fly was the third most numerous anthropophilic species at the floor (6.2%) and the second most numerous anthropophilic at the canopy (35.1%).
Conclusions: A new anthropophilic sand fly species is described as Pi. (Pif.) veintemillasi n. sp. This sand fly species was caught at about 900 m altitude in the Marimonos mountain range, a highly endemic area for cutaneous and mucosal leishmaniasis due to Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis. Therefore, this species could be involved in the leishmaniasis transmission in the sub-Andean foothills of Alto Beni, Department of La Paz, Bolivia.
Keywords: Andean foothills; Cryptic species; Evansi series; Sand flies; Taxonomy.
© 2022. The Author(s).