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Acoustic signals in the sand fly Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) intermedia (Diptera: Psychodidae)

Felipe M Vigoder1*, Nataly A Souza2 and Alexandre A Peixoto13

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratório de Biologia Molecular de Insetos, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, FIOCRUZ, Av. Brasil 4365, Manguinhos, CEP 21040-360, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

2 Laboratório de Transmissores de Leishmanioses, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, FIOCRUZ, Av. Brasil 4365, Manguinhos, CEP 21040-360, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

3 Instituto Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia em Entomologia Molecular, Brazil

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Parasites & Vectors 2011, 4:76  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-4-76

Published: 13 May 2011



Acoustic signals are part of the courtship of many insects and they often act as species-specific signals that are important in the reproductive isolation of closely related species. Here we report the courtship songs of the sand fly Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) intermedia, one of the main vectors of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Brazil.


Recordings were performed using insects from three localities from Eastern Brazil: Posse and Jacarepaguá in Rio de Janeiro State and Corte de Pedra in Bahia State. The three areas have remnants of the Brazilian Atlantic forest, they are endemic for cutaneous leishmaniasis and L. intermedia is the predominant sand fly species. We observed that during courtship L. intermedia males from all populations produced pulse songs consisting of short trains. No significant differences in song parameters were observed between the males of the three localities.


L. intermedia males produce acoustic signals as reported for some other sand flies such as the sibling species of the Lutzomyia longipalpis complex. The lack of differences between the males from the three localities is consistent with previous molecular studies of the period gene carried out in the same populations, reinforcing the idea that L. intermedia is not a species complex in the studied areas and that the three populations are likely to have similar vectorial capacities.