Sand flies are small insects. Their length, including in females the head, thorax and abdomen and in males the coxites, is 1.2-3.7 mm (Perfil'ev, 1968).
Head, thorax, abdomen and appendages are covered with hairs which give a "fluffy" appearance. The palps reach beyond the proboscis and are almost folded in two. The wings are raised above the body. The apex of the wings is directed posteriad and laterad. Legs are long and slender (Perfil'ev, 1968).
Sand flies which are disturbed on a wall do not usually fly, but jump away, rising to the ceiling. This jumping behaviour, the raised wings and the "fluffiness" are reported to be so characteristic that recognition of a live sand fly and distinguishing it from other small insects is possible (Perfil'ev, 1968).
In addition to hairs, sand flies possess scales which are only visible under the microcope. Neither form nor arrangement of both of them are of systematic importance (Perfil'ev, 1968).
Wing venation is subdued to consequent terminology and used as morphological characteristic. Furthermore the anatomy of the head, the structure of the male genitalia, the presence and arrangement of teeth in the cibarium and partly the structure of the female spermathecae is used as characters for the subdivision of genera and subgenera (Peters, 1992).
- Perfil'ev, P.P.: Fauna of U.S.S.R. Diptera. Phlebotomidae (sandflies). Acad. Sci. U.S.S.R. Zool. Inst. New Ser. No. 93, Vol. 3 No. 2, Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Jerusalem, 1968
- Peters, W.: Leishmaniases. In: Peters, W. (ed.): A colour atlas of arthropods in clinical medicine. Wolfe Publish. Ltd., London, pp 115-134, 1992