Spatial and temporal patterns of occurrence of Lutzomyia sand fly species in an endemic area for cutaneous leishmaniasis in the Atlantic Forest region of northeast Brazil



Sand fly populations of different ecological niches in the Amaraji endemic American Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (ACL) focus of the Pernambuco Atlantic Forest region of northeastern Brazil were monitored spatiotemporally. Lutzomyia whitmani was dominant in all niches but occurred in smaller numbers in forested locations. L. whitmani was significantly less seasonal than the other species, being present throughout the year while other species were more abundant between February and April. These results suggest that L. whitmani may potentially be the principal vector of ACL in the region, even though the sand fly fauna was diverse: 88% were L.whitmani and 12% belonged to 11 other species. Two other species, L. complexa (1.3%) and L. migonei (0.8%), considered to be ACL vectors in other regions, were also present. This detailed picture of the sand fly population's abundance and spatiotemporal distribution provides a basis for future modeling studies of forecasting sand fly activity patterns and ACL occurence.