Entomopathogens of phlebotomine sand flies: Laboratory experiments and natural infections

Alon Warburg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The susceptibility of different geographical strains of Phlebotomus papatasi to a cytoplasmic polyhedrosis virus (CPV) was determined experimentally by feeding polyhedra to larvae. Of the Indian P. papatasi, 15.6% became infected, whereas Egyptian P. papatasi were mostly refractory. Infection rates were not augmented in colony flies from the Jordan Valley, 23.8% of which were naturally infected with CPV. The infectivity of Serratia marcescens and Beauvaria bassiana to P. papatasi were determined experimentally. A suspension of B. bassiana spores or S. marcescens bacteria, ingested by P. papatasi in sucrose solution, did not significantly augment mortality rates or reduce the number of eggs oviposited. However, B. bassiana spores smeared on a filter paper constituting 1 or 5% of the surface area available to flies induced 100% mortality of P. papatasi on days 5 and 4, respectively. Mortality in Lutzomyia longipalpis reached 100% on day 4. There were markedly lower mortality rates in the control groups and more eggs were produced by these females (P. papatasi: control = 48.5; experimental = 0.9-1.6 eggs/female; L. longipalpis: control = 17.1; experimental = 0 eggs/female). From wild-caught Colombian Lutzomyia spp., a nonfluorescent pseudomonas, an Entomophthorales fungus, and a Trypanosomatid protozoon (probably Leptomonas) were isolated in culture media. Gregarines (Ascogregarina saraviae) and nematodes (Tylenchida and Spirurida) were also recorded. In laboratory-reared flies, an ectoparasitic fungus was associated with high mortality rates of first instar Lutzomyia spp. larvae. Opportunistic ectoparasitic aggregates of bacteria, yeast, and fungi on the tarsi of colonized L. longipalpis and P. papatasi hindered their mobility and were associated with reduced colony vigor. Aspergillus flavus, B. bassiana, and S. marcescens were isolated from laboratory-bred P. papatasi adults.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)189-202
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Invertebrate Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1991
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Part of this work-conducted at Centro Intemacio-nal de Investigaciones Medicas, Cali, Colombia-received support from Grant ID 840336 of the UNDPI WORLD BANK/WHO special program for research and training in tropical diseases. Additional support was given by a Wellcome Trust grant (LSHTM, London). I am grateful to H. C. Evans of CIBC, UK, for identifying fungal and bacterial isolates; to scientists at CIDEIM for technical assistance; and to A. Chabaud, I. Landau, and D. Van Waerebeke of the Natural History Museum, Paris, for identifying nematodes. REFERENCES 1964. Leishmania. Adv. Parasitol., 2, 3% ADLER, S. 96. ADLER, S., AND MAYRINK, W. 1961. A gregarine, Monocystis chagasi n. sp., of Phlebotomus iongi-palpis: Remarks on the accessory gland of P. longi-palpis. Rev. Med. Trop. Sao Paula, 3, 230-238. ASHFORD, R. W. 1974. Sandflies (Diptera: Psychodi-dae) from Ethiopia: Taxonomic and biological notes. J. Med. Entomol., 11, 605-616. BURGESS, H. D. (Ed.) 1981. “Microbial Control of Pests and Plant Diseases 1970-1980.” Academic Press, New York. EVANS, H. C. 1989. Mycopathogens of insects of epi-geal and aerial habitats. In “Insect-Fungus Inter-actions” (N. M. Collins, M. P. Hammond, and J. F. Webbes, Eds.), pp. 205-238. Academic Press, New York. HECKLEY, R. J. 1978. Preservation of microorgan-isms. AdI’. Appl. Microbial.. 24, l-53. KILLICK-KENDRICK, R. 1979. The biology of Leish-mania in phlebotomine sandflies. In “Biology of the Kinetoplastida” (W. H. R. Lumsden and D. A. Evans, Eds.). Vol. 2, pp. 395-460. Academic Press, New York. KILLICK-KENDRICK, R. 1987. Breeding places of Phle-botomus ariasi in the Cevennes focus of leishmani-asis in the south of France. Parassitologia. 29, 181- 191. KILLICK-KENDRICK. R., KILLICK-KENDRICK, M.. QLJALA. N. A., NAWI. R. W.. ASHFORD, R. W., AND TANG. Y. 1989. Preliminary observations on a tetradonematid nematode of phlebotomine sandflies of Afghanistan. Ann. Parasitol. Hum. Camp., 64, 332-339. KILLICK-KENDRICK. R.. LEANEY. A. J., MOLYNEUX, D. H., AND RIOUX, J.-A. 1976. Parasites of Phle-botomus ariasi. Trans. R. Sot. Trop. Med. Hyg. 70, 22.


  • Ascogregarina
  • Beauvaria bassiana
  • Diptera
  • Entomophthorales
  • Leptomonas
  • Lutzomyia gomezi
  • Lutzomyia lichyi
  • Lutzomyia longipalpis
  • Lutzomyia pia
  • Lutzomyia shannoni
  • Lutzomyia townsendi
  • Lutzomyia trapidoi
  • Phlebotomus papatasi
  • Psychodidae
  • Serratia marcescens
  • Spirurida
  • Trypanosomatidae
  • Tylenchida
  • cytoplasmic polyhedrosis viruses
  • entomopathogens
  • leishmaniasis
  • nematodes
  • yeast


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