Natural Host Preferences of Panamanian Phlebotomine Sandflies as Determined by Precipitin Test

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  • U. S. Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Middle America Research Unit, Box 2011, Balboa Heights, Canal Zone
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A microplate modification of the tube precipitin test for identification of insect blood meals is described. The smaller volumes required in the method permitted us to study feeding habits of phlebotomine sandflies collected from different localities in Panamá. Most of the sandflies tested fed predominantly on mammals, although the frequency of feedings on six mammalian orders varied with species and locality of collection. Of the genus Lutzomyia, L. trapidoi had the largest number of primate feedings and demonstrated the broadest host range, making it a potentially good vector of sandfly-transmitted diseases. L. shannoni showed a preference for rodents and edentates; 76% of L. ylephiletrix had fed on edentates, probably sloths; and L. verspetilionis reacted exclusively with Chiroptera antiserum.

Author Notes

Capt., MC, Third Civil Affairs Group (Abn.), U. S. Southern Command, Fort Clayton, Canal Zone.