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An experimental study of the peridomestic distribution of Lutzomyia longipalpis (Diptera: Psychodidae)

  • Rupert J. Quinnell (a1) and Christopher Dye (a1)

Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva), the vector of American visceral leishmaniasis (AVL), is much more abundant in animal sheds than in houses on Marajó Island, Pará State, Brazil. This difference in abundance is known not to reflect host preference. We show here that it also cannot be explained in terms of variable trapping efficiency, or insecticide application, and we exclude animal sheds as important daytime resting sites. In experimental sheds, the number of L. longipalpis increased markedly with the openness of the walls, though artificially large aggregations of flies could be generated in closed houses by using caged flies and hosts as attractants. We conclude that L. longipalpis tend to congregate at sites outdoors, including animal sheds, because these are the places where leks can most easily form on abundant, stationary (sleeping) and accessible hosts. These results help to explain why the seroprevalence of Leishmania chagasi infection is generally much higher among dogs than humans. They also indicate that human exposure to sandfly bites varies with the quality of house construction.

Corresponding author
Christopher Dye, Department of Medical Parasitology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK.
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Courtenay O., Macdonald D.W., Lainson R., Shaw J.J. & Dye C. (in press) Epidemiology of canine leishmaniasis: A comparative serological study of dogs and foxes in Amazon Brazil. Parasitology.
Dye C., Davies C.R. & Lainson R. (1991) Communication among phlebotomine sandflies: a field study of domesticated Lutzomyia longipalpis populations in Amazonian Brazil. Animal Behaviour 42, 183192.
Lainson R., Dye C., Shaw J.J., Macdonald D., Courtenay O., Souza A.A. & Silveira F-.T. (1990) Amazonian visceral leishmaniasis: distribution of the vector Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva) in relation to the fox Cerdocyon thous (L.) and the efficiency of this reservoir host as a source of infection. Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 85, 135137.
Lainson R., Shaw J.J., Silveira F.T. & Fraiha H. (1983) Leishmaniasis in Brazil: XIX. Visceral leishmaniasis in the Amazon region, and the presence of Lutzomyia longipalpis on the island of Marajó, Pará State. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 77, 323330.
Lewis D.J. & Ward R.D. (1987). Transmission and vectors. pp. 235262in Peters W. & Killick-Kendrick R. (Eds) The Leishmaniases in Biology and Medicine. London Academic Press.
Morton I. & Ward R.D. (1989) Laboratory responses of female Lutzomyia longipalpis sandflies to a host and male pheromone source over distance Medical and Veterinary Entomology 3, 219223.
Quinnell R.J. & Dye C. (in press) Correlates of the peridomestic abundance of Lutzomyia longipalpis(Diptera: Psychodidae) in Amazonian Brazil. Medical and Veterinary Entomology.
Quinnell R.J., Dye C. & Shaw J.J. (1992) Host preferences of the phlebotomine sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis in Amazonian Brazil. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 6, 195200
Ryan L., Silveira F.T., Lainson R. & Shaw J.J. (1984) Leishmania infections in Lutzomyia longipalpis and Lu. antunesi (Diptera: Psychodidae) on the island of Marajó, Pará State, Brazil. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 78, 547548.
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Bulletin of Entomological Research
  • ISSN: 0007-4853
  • EISSN: 1475-2670
  • URL: /core/journals/bulletin-of-entomological-research
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