Sand flies are the insects responsible for transmitting Leishmania parasites, the causative agents of leishmaniasis in humans. However, the effects of sand fly breeding sites on their biology and ecology remain poorly understood. Herein, we studied how larval nutrition associated with putative breeding sites of the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis affects their oviposi-tion, development, microbiome, and susceptibility to Leishmania by rearing L. longipalpis on substrates collected from an endemic area for leishmaniasis in Brazil. The results showed that female L. longipalpis select the oviposition site based on its potential to promote larval maturation and while composting cashew leaf litter hindered the development, larvae reared on chicken feces developed rapidly. Typical gut microbial profiles were found in larvae reared upon cashew leaf litter. Adult females from larvae reared on substrate collected in chicken coops were infected with Leishmania infantum, indicating that they were highly sus-ceptible to the parasite. In conclusion, the larval breeding sites can exert an important role in the epidemiology of leishmaniasis.
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© 2021 Aguiar Martins et al.