• Phlebotomine sand flies;
  • gut;
  • bacteria;
  • temperature gradient gel electrophoresis (TGGE)


In this study, we tested the capacity of Temperature Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (TGGE)-based fingerprinting of 16S rDNA PCR fragments to assess bacterial composition in a single isolated sand fly gut. Bacterial content was studied in different life stages of a laboratory-reared colony of Phlebotomus duboscqi and in a wild-caught Phlebotomus papatasi population. Our study demonstrates that a major reorganization in the gut bacterial community occurs during metamorphosis of sand flies. Chloroflexi spp. was dominant in the guts of pre-imaginal stages, although Microbacterium spp. and another as yet unidentified bacteria were detected in the gut of the adult specimen. Interestingly, Microbacterium spp. was also found in all the adult guts of both species. We demonstrate that the analysis of bacterial diversity in an individualized sand fly gut is possible with fingerprinting of 16S rDNA. The use of such methodology, in conjunction with other culture-based methods, will be of great help in investigating the behavior of the Leishmania-bacterial community in an ecological context.