Host Preferences of the Sand Fly Lutzomyia longipalpis at an Endemic Focus of American Visceral Leishmaniasis in Colombia

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  • Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, Entomology Group, National Institute of Health, New Haven, Connecticut, Colombia

Blood meals from 579 Lutzomyia longipalpis (Diptera:Psychodidae), collected in an endemic focus of American visceral leishmaniasis in Colombia, were identified by precipitin test. Sand fly collections were made during a 16-month period from the inside walls of two houses, a pigpen, and rock crevices in a small community (El Callejon) within the endemic area. Feeding patterns of the sand flies varied with locality and date of collection. Overall, bovine feedings predominated, but feedings were also recorded on pigs, equines, humans, dogs, opossums, birds, and reptiles. Calculation of the forage ratios for each host species indicated that cows and pigs were the preferred hosts of Lu. longipalpis in El Callejon. Results of this study suggest that Lu. longipalpis is an opportunistic feeder and is not highly anthropophilic nor strongly attracted to dogs.