Leishmaniasis vector potential of Lutzomyia spp. in Colombian coffee plantations


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Abstract. Potential vectors of Leishmania braziliensis Vianna were assessed at four study sites in the mountainous Valle del Cauca, western Colombia, from March to June 1989. In an active focus of transmission at 1450 m altitude, a coffee plantation at Versalles, there were high densities of anthropophilic phlebotomines: Lutzomyia columbiana (Ritorcelli & Van Ty) and Lu.townsendi (Ortiz), both in the verrucarum species group, and of Lu.pia (Fairchild & Hertig). At a comparable altitude in a forest reserve at Yotoco where leishmaniasis is unknown, Lu.pia was the prevalent species and Lu.townsendi was absent. In two localities at 1150 m altitude, there were plentiful Lu. lichyi (Floch & Abonnenc) plus both species in the verrucarum group, but Lu.pia was absent. One of these localities, a coffee plantation at Villa Hermosa where a leishmaniasis outbreak occurred in 1986, was compared with a leishmaniasis‐free, partly wooded nature reserve at Mateguadua. No natural infections of Leishmania were found in a total of 1896 wild‐caught female phlebotomines belonging to at least seven species. It remains unclear why Leishmaniasis transmission is associated with coffee plantations in this part of Colombia. Laboratory‐bred Lu. lichyi females were invariably autogenous, and blood‐seeking females of this species were always parous. Parity rates in wild‐caught females of other species were 55%Lu.pia, 24%Lu.columbiana and 14%Lu.townsendi. Female Lutzomyia infected artificially with Le.braziliensis promas‐tigotes developed peripylarian infections. Higher proportions of Lu.townsendi (96%) and Lu.columbiana (78%) became infected but these species developed lower rates of stomodaeal infections (P<0.1) than Lu.lichyi (37%) or Lu.pia (44%). Only 33% of a Colombian strain of Lu.longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva) became infected.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9-16
Number of pages8
JournalMedical and Veterinary Entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Colombia
  • Leishmania braziliensis
  • Lutzomyia Columbiana
  • Lutzomyia spp.
  • Lutzomyia townsendi
  • autogeny
  • coffee plantations
  • parity
  • vector competence


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