DNA barcode for the identification of the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis plant feeding preferences in a tropical urban environment

Leonardo H.G.De M. Lima*, Marcelo R. Mesquita, Laura Skrip, Moisés T. De Souza Freitas, Vladimir C. Silva, Oscar D. Kirstein, Ibrahim Abassi, Alon Warburg, Valdir De Q. Balbino, Carlos H.N. Costa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Little is known about the feeding behavior of hematophagous insects that require plant sugar to complete their life cycles. We studied plant feeding of Lutzomyia longipalpis sand flies, known vectors of Leishmania infantum/chagasi parasites, in a Brazilian city endemic with visceral leishmaniasis. The DNA barcode technique was applied to identify plant food source of wild-caught L. longipalpis using specific primers for a locus from the chloroplast genome, ribulose diphosphate carboxylase. DNA from all trees or shrubs within a 100-meter radius from the trap were collected to build a barcode reference library. While plants from the Anacardiaceae and Meliaceae families were the most abundant at the sampling site (25.4% and 12.7% of the local plant population, respectively), DNA from these plant families was found in few flies; in contrast, despite its low abundance (2.9%), DNA from the Fabaceae family was detected in 94.7% of the sand flies. The proportion of sand flies testing positive for DNA from a given plant family was not significantly associated with abundance, distance from the trap, or average crown expansion of plants from that family. The data suggest that there may indeed be a feeding preference of L. longipalpis for plants in the Fabaceae family.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number29742
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Jul 2016

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