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About sand flies

Sand flies are biting insects that share some similarities with mosquitoes, being classified in the suborder, the Nematocera. They are widely spread in regions with warm temperate through subtropical to tropical climates. The veterinary and medical importance of sand flies results from their ability to transmit viral, bacterial and protozoal diseases.

Sand flies belong to the insect order Diptera, suborder Nematocera. Within this suborder the family Psychodidae includes biting sand flies in diverse genera and non-biting owl-midges or moth flies (genus Psychoda). The subfamily Phlebotominae consists of about 700 phlebotomine species. Among the existing phlebotomine genera two have been proven as vectors of one of the main zoonotic pathogens worldwide, the protozoan parasite Leishmania. These are Phlebotomus in the Old World and Lutzomyia in the New World.

Sand fly-transmitted diseases are a major health issue for dogs. Even with preventative measures, mosquito control with repellent and insecticidal efficacy is crucial.

Figure 1: Adult sand fly (Phlebotomus spp.), frontal view (SEM)

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