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Parasitology Research

, Volume 117, Issue 4, pp 1105–1113 | Cite as

Phlebotomus langeroni Nitzulescu (Diptera, Psychodidae) a new vector for Leishmania infantum in Europe

  • Victoriano Díaz Sáez
  • F. Morillas-Márquez
  • G. Merino-Espinosa
  • V. Corpas-López
  • M. Morales-Yuste
  • B. Pesson
  • S. Barón-López
  • J. Lucientes-Curdi
  • J. Martín-Sánchez
Original Paper

Abstract

Burrows of the wild rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, a lagomorph that has been recently suggested as a Leishmania infantum reservoir, constitute an unspoilt biotope in phlebotomine studies in Europe. We hypothesize that Phlebotomus langeroni, a proven vector of L. infantum in North Africa, is associated with rabbits and may have been overlooked in Europe. Sandfly captures were carried out with CDC light traps in an L. infantum endemic area of southern Spain with a high density of lagomorphs and a large numbers of burrows. The stable, permanent, and highly abundant presence of P. langeroni was assessed. After morphological identification, this sandfly species was characterized by comparing it with P. perniciosus and other P. langeroni populations from North Africa through molecular techniques. P. langeroni had not been found in southern Spain to date, despite being a highly investigated area, except for this particular biotope. Its activity period turned out to begin in mid-July, ending in late October, accounting for a maximum activity during this month. This study shows that P. langeroni is associated with the existence of rabbit burrows and has been overlooked in Europe. L. infantum DNA was found in almost half of the female specimens (47.6%) captured inside a biotope where wild rabbits are infected as well.

Keywords

Phlebotomus langeroni Leishmania infantum Europe Wild rabbit burrows Oryctolagus cuniculus 

Notes

Funding information

The authors wish to thank the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation for funding this research through the Project CGL2007-66943-C02-02/BOS and the Junta de Andalucía for the project P07-CVI-03249, and the research group CVI176. Thanks also to the staff of administration and services of the state “La Torre” (Illora) for their strong support and generous collaboration for the execution of the present work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoriano Díaz Sáez
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. Morillas-Márquez
    • 1
  • G. Merino-Espinosa
    • 1
  • V. Corpas-López
    • 1
  • M. Morales-Yuste
    • 1
  • B. Pesson
    • 2
  • S. Barón-López
    • 1
  • J. Lucientes-Curdi
    • 3
  • J. Martín-Sánchez
    • 1
  1. 1.Departament of Parasitology, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.Laboratory of ParasitologyUniversity of StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  3. 3.Department of Animal Pathology, Faculty of VeterinaryUniversity of ZaragozaZaragozaSpain

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