Comparative fecundity and survival rates of Phlebotomus papatasi sandflies membrane fed on blood from eight mammal species


Dr J. G. Harre, WRAIR Division of Veterinary Medicine, Bldg 511 Forest Glen Annex, Silver Spring, MD 20910-7500, U.S.A. E-mail:


Female sandflies, Phlebotomus papatasi (Scopoli) (Diptera: Psychodidae), were fed via chicken membrane on heparinized blood from eight species of mammal (human, horse, cow, pig, dog, rabbit, guinea-pig, hamster) and their reproductive success rates were compared. No appreciable differences between those fed on human and animal blood were detected with respect to the proportion of flies that fed successfully, mortality-rate within 24 h, number of eggs laid per blood-fed female or egg viability. When mass-rearing sandflies for research purposes, membrane-feeding avoids practical difficulties encountered if sandflies are allowed to feed on live hosts (i.e. anaesthesia, distress from handling and postfeeding inflammation) and reduction of sandfly fecundity due to host antibody interference. Use of animal blood also eliminates risks of accidental transmission of human blood-borne pathogens, e.g. hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and is less expensive than maintenance of animals and their preparation for sandfly feeding.