Volume 65, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The sand fly Phlebotomus papatasi transmits Leishmania major, which causes cutaneous leishmaniasis, in vast regions of the Old World. In addition to blood, the sand flies feed on plants. In a study of this diet, we observed that one night of feeding on branches of Solanum jasminoides, Ricinus communis, or Bougainvillea glabra drastically shortened the life span of the sand flies. Flowering B. glabra attracted P. papatasi in the field. Nevertheless, in the region endemic for L. major in yards abounding with vector sand flies, the number of P. papatasi trapped near hedges of B. glabra was eight times less (62 versus 502 flies trapped) than in the control sites. The results imply that B. glabra affords local protection against sand fly bites and decreases the risk of leishmaniasis. We suggest that this and other ornamental plants that are harmful to sand flies can be used as a tool for this purpose.


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