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Concept: Flies


Although humans and arthropods have been living and evolving together for all of our history, we know very little about the arthropods we share our homes with apart from major pest groups. Here we surveyed, for the first time, the complete arthropod fauna of the indoor biome in 50 houses (located in and around Raleigh, North Carolina, USA). We discovered high diversity, with a conservative estimate range of 32-211 morphospecies, and 24-128 distinct arthropod families per house. The majority of this indoor diversity (73%) was made up of true flies (Diptera), spiders (Araneae), beetles (Coleoptera), and wasps and kin (Hymenoptera, especially ants: Formicidae). Much of the arthropod diversity within houses did not consist of synanthropic species, but instead included arthropods that were filtered from the surrounding landscape. As such, common pest species were found less frequently than benign species. Some of the most frequently found arthropods in houses, such as gall midges (Cecidomyiidae) and book lice (Liposcelididae), are unfamiliar to the general public despite their ubiquity. These findings present a new understanding of the diversity, prevalence, and distribution of the arthropods in our daily lives. Considering their impact as household pests, disease vectors, generators of allergens, and facilitators of the indoor microbiome, advancing our knowledge of the ecology and evolution of arthropods in homes has major economic and human health implications.

Concepts: Evolution, Nematocera, Insect, Arthropod, Flies, Ant, Spider, Pterygota


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a disease caused by two known vector-borne parasite species (Leishmania donovani, L. infantum), transmitted to man by phlebotomine sand flies (species: Phlebotomus and Lutzomyia), resulting in ≈50,000 human fatalities annually, ≈67% occurring on the Indian subcontinent. Indoor residual spraying is the current method of sand fly control in India, but alternative means of vector control, such as the treatment of livestock with systemic insecticide-based drugs, are being evaluated. We describe an individual-based, stochastic, life-stage-structured model that represents a sand fly vector population within a village in India and simulates the effects of vector control via fipronil-based drugs orally administered to cattle, which target both blood-feeding adults and larvae that feed on host feces.

Concepts: India, Indian subcontinent, Leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Flies, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia


Abstract. The occurrence of American cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL) in areas modified by humans indicates that phlebotomine sand fly vectors breed close to human habitations. Potential peridomiciliary breeding sites of phlebotomines were sampled in an area of transmission of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis in Southeastern Brazil. Three concentric circles rounding houses and domestic animal shelters, with radii of 20, 40, and 60 m, defined the area to be monitored using adult emergence traps. Of the 67 phlebotomines collected, Lutzomyia intermedia comprised 71.6%; Lutzomyia schreiberi, 20.9%; and Lutzomyia migonei, 4.5%. The predominance of L. intermedia, the main species suspected of transmitting L. (V.) braziliensis in Southeastern Brazil, indicates its participation in the domiciliary transmission of ACL, providing evidence that the domiciliary ACL transmission cycle might be maintained by phlebotomines that breed close to human habitations. This finding might also help in planning measures that would make the peridomiciliary environment less favorable for phlebotomine breeding sites.

Concepts: Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Flies, Fly, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia


African pit latrines produce prodigious numbers of the latrine fly, Chrysomya putoria, a putative vector of diarrhoeal pathogens. We set out to develop a simple, low-cost odour-baited trap for collecting C. putoria in the field. A series of field experiments was carried out in The Gambia to assess the catching-efficiency of different trap designs. The basic trap was a transparent 3L polypropylene box baited with 50 g of fish, with a white opaque lid with circular entrance holes. We tested variations of the number, diameter, position and shape of the entrance holes, the height of the trap above ground, degree of transparency of the box, its shape, volume, colour, and the attractiveness of gridded surfaces on or under the trap. Traps were rotated between positions on different sampling occasions using a Latin Square design. The optimal trapping features were incorporated into a final trap that was tested against commercially available traps. Features of the trap that increased the number of flies caught included: larger entrance holes (compared with smaller ones, p<0.001), using conical collars inside the holes (compared with without collars, p = 0.01), entrance holes on the top of the trap (compared with the side or bottom, p<0.001), traps placed on the ground (compared with above ground, p<0.001), the box having transparent sides (compared with being opaque, p<0.001), and with no wire grids nearby (compared with those with grids, p = 0.03). This trap collected similar numbers of C. putoria to other common traps for blow flies. The optimum trap design was a transparent box, with a white plastic lid on top, perforated with 10 conical entrance holes, placed on the ground. Our simple trap provides a cheap, low-maintenance and effective method of sampling C. putoria in the field.

Concepts: Flies, Sanitation, Latrine, Pit toilet, Outhouse, Appropriate technology


OBJECTIVE: To explore ways of controlling Chrysomya putoria, the African latrine fly, in pit latrines. As pit latrines are a major source of these flies, eliminating these important breeding sites is likely to reduce village fly populations, and may reduce the spread of diarrhoeal pathogens. METHODS: We treated 24 latrines in a Gambian village: six each with (i) pyriproxyfen, an insect juvenile hormone mimic formulated as Sumilarv(®) 0.5G, a 0.5% pyriproxyfen granule, (ii) expanded polystyrene beads (EPB), (iii) local soap or (iv) no treatment as controls. Flies were collected using exit traps placed over the drop holes, weekly for five weeks. In a separate study, we tested whether latrines also function as efficient flytraps using the faecal odours as attractants. We constructed six pit latrines each with a built-in flytrap and tested their catching efficiency compared to six fish-baited box traps positioned 10 m from the latrine. Focus group discussions conducted afterwards assessed the acceptability of the flytrap latrines. RESULTS: Numbers of emerging C. putoria were reduced by 96.0% (95% CIs: 94.5-97.2%) 4-5 weeks after treatment with pyriproxyfen; by 64.2% (95% CIs: 51.8-73.5%) after treatment with local soap; by 41.3% (95% CIs = 24.0-54.7%) after treatment with EPB 3-5 weeks after treatment. Flytraps placed on latrines collected C. putoria and were deemed acceptable to local communities. CONCLUSIONS: Sumilarv 0.5G shows promise as a chemical control agent, whilst odour-baited latrine traps may prove a useful method of non-chemical fly control. Both methods warrant further development to reduce fly production from pit latrines. A combination of interventions may prove effective for the control of latrine flies and the diseases they transmit.

Concepts: Focus group, Insect, Polystyrene, Flies, Latrine, The Gambia, Pit toilet, Outhouse


There are nearly 1000 species of Phlebotomine sand flies in 6 genera, of which only two, Phlebotomus in the old world and Lutzomyia in the new world are medically important. Globally, leishmaniasis prevalent in 98 countries and affects estimated 12 million people with almost two million new cases per year. Some rural areas of Azarshahr District in East Azarbaijan Province have been reported to be endemic for visceral leishmaniasis. This study is the first attempt to determine the species diversity and density in a new focus of visceral leishmaniasis in Azarshahr District, East Azarbaijan Province, Iran.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Flies, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia, East Azarbaijan Province


A number of studies on visceral leishmaniasis (VL) vector control have been conducted during the past decade, sometimes came to very different conclusion. The present study on a large sample investigated different options which are partially unexplored including: (1) indoor residual spraying (IRS) with alpha cypermethrin 5WP; (2) long lasting insecticide impregnated bed-net (LLIN); (3) impregnation of local bed-nets with slow release insecticide K-O TAB 1-2-3 (KOTAB); (4) insecticide spraying in potential breeding sites outside of house using chlorpyrifos 20EC (OUT) and different combinations of the above.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Flies, Pesticides, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia


Phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera, Psychodidae) are vectors of Leishmania spp., among which Leishmania infantum is recognized as the main agent of human and canine leishmaniosis (CanL) in the Mediterranean area. In this study, females of Phlebotomus spp. (P. perniciosus, P. neglectus and P. papatasi) and Sergentomyia minuta were collected in a dog shelter of southern Italy, where CanL is endemic, and examined for Leishmania DNA. In total, 32 out of 56 of Phlebotomus spp. insects (57.1%) were found positive for L. infantum DNA by quantitative PCR (qPCR), with a mean parasite load of 1.9 × 103 promastigotes/ml among 23 positive P. perniciosus and 2.1 × 103 promastigotes/ml among five positive P. neglectus. Four P. papatasi, a species known to be refractory to L. infantum development, were also found positive. Among 216 S. minuta specimens examined, 25 (11.6%) scored positive for Leishmania tarentolae by conventional nested PCR; two (16.7%) of them were also positive for lizard blood, which is in agreement with the feeding preference of this phlebotomine species. Nine S. minuta (4.2%) were positive for L. infantum by qPCR, with a mean parasite load of 1.62 × 102 promastigotes/ml. The detection of L. infantum DNA in S. minuta may suggest that this species could acquire the protozoan, occasionally feeding on infected dogs. Further investigations need to clarify the potential role that S. minuta may have in the transmission of L. infantum to receptive mammal hosts.

Concepts: Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, Real-time polymerase chain reaction, Leishmania, Flies, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia


The “organic food” market is the fastest growing food sector, yet it is unclear whether organically raised food is nutritionally superior to conventionally grown food and whether consuming organic food bestows health benefits. In order to evaluate potential health benefits of organic foods, we used the well-characterized fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model system. Fruit flies were raised on a diets consisting of extracts of either conventionally or organically raised produce (bananas, potatoes, raisins, soy beans). Flies were then subjected to a variety of tests designed to assess overall fly health. Flies raised on diets made from organically grown produce had greater fertility and longevity. On certain food sources, greater activity and greater stress resistance was additionally observed, suggesting that organic food bestows positive effects on fly health. Our data show that Drosophila can be used as a convenient model system to experimentally test potential health effects of dietary components. Using this system, we provide evidence that organically raised food may provide animals with tangible benefits to overall health.

Concepts: Nutrition, Model organism, Drosophila melanogaster, Drosophila, Organic farming, Flies, Organic food, Sustainable agriculture


The life-like fidelity of organisms captured in amber is unique among all kinds of fossilization and represents an invaluable source for different fields of palaeontological and biological research. One of the most challenging aspects in amber research is the study of traits related to behaviour. Here, indirect evidence for pheromone-mediated mating behaviour is recorded from a biting midge (Ceratopogonidae) in 54 million-year-old Indian amber. Camptopterohelea odora n. sp. exhibits a complex, pocket shaped structure on the wings, which resembles the wing folds of certain moth flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) and scent organs that are only known from butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) so far. Our studies suggests that pheromone releasing structures on the wings have evolved independently in biting midges and might be much more widespread in fossil as well as modern insects than known so far.

Concepts: Nematocera, Insect, Order, Lepidoptera, Flies, Pollinators, Moth, Butterfly