The maggot-like first stage larva can be identified by the presence of one pair of long caudal bristles, which is seen through the egg shell. Following stage larvae are progressively larger than first-stage larvae and possess two pair of caudal bristles. All larval stages show phlebotomine larvae characteristic 'matchstick' hairs on each segment.
Four instars of larvae follow over a period of 21-60 days (Peters, 1992) / 16-90 days (Service, 2001a). Larvae are mainly scavengers. In laboratories, they are fed on semi-rotting vegetable matter and decomposing arthropod bodies, chow or even feces of vertebrates (e.g. aged rabbit faeces (Singh, 1985, based on Endris et al. 1982). The developing larva is cutting an exit hole with a sort of 'egg tooth' into the egg shell.
The final-instar larva sheds its skin and the pupa is formed. Larval breeding sites are seldom found, Bettini and Melis (1988) suggested pre-imaginal stages associated with a comparatively stable, cool, humid environment, protected from rain and sunshine and in the special analyzed site, rich in clay and organic nitrogen.
- Bettini, S., and P. Melis: Leishmaniasis in Sardinia. III. Soil analysis of a breeding site of three species of sandflies. Med. Vet. Entomol. 2, 67-71, 1988
- Endris, R.G., P.V. Perkins, D.G. Young and R.N. Johnson: Techniques for laboratory rearing of sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae). Mosq. News 42, 400-407, 1982
- Peters, W.: Leishmaniases. In: Peters, W. (ed.): A colour atlas of arthropods in clinical medicine. Wolfe Publish. Ltd., London, pp 115-134, 1992
- Singh, P.: Multiple-species rearing diets. Diptera: Psychodidae. In: Singh, P., and R. F. Moore (eds.): Handbook of Insect Rearing. Vol. 1 Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 33-34, 1985
- Service, M.W.: Phlebotomine sand-flies (Phlebotominae). In: Service, M. W. (ed.): The encyclopedia of arthropod-transmitted infections. CABI Publish., Oxon, New York, pp 395-397, 2001a