New record of the suspected leishmaniasis vector Phlebotomus (Transphlebotomus) mascittii Grassi, 1908 (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae) — the northernmost phlebotomine sandfly occurrence in the Palearctic region
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- Melaun, C., Krüger, A., Werblow, A. et al. Parasitol Res (2014) 113: 2295. doi:10.1007/s00436-014-3884-y
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Although being typical Mediterranean faunal elements, phlebotomine sandflies have also been recorded in central Europe for several countries including Germany, where two species, Phlebotomus mascittii and Phlebotomus perniciosus, occur. In Europe, P. mascittii is the northernmostly distributed phlebotomine species. While P. perniciosus is a proven vector of leishmaniasis as well as various sandfly fever causing phleboviruses, the situation for P. mascittii is different. For this species, vector competence could not be proven yet, but is strongly suspected. During an entomological survey in July 2013, one female sandfly was caught in Giessen in the German state of Hesse. Adjacent to the collection site, different potential habitats could be found. Morphological examination of the cibarium, pharynx, and genitalia revealed the specimen as P. mascittii. This is the first reported occurrence for Hesse, and not only the northernmost documented occurrence for P. mascittii, but also of the whole subfamily in the Palearctic region. New records of proven or suspected vectors are of medical relevance because of potential Leishmania and/or Phlebovirus transmission and the awareness therefore in the public.