Encyclopedia of Parasitology

2016 Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn

Sand Flies

  • Heinz MehlhornEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-43978-4_2787




Family of  Insects.

General Information

Fossil phlebotomines are about 120 million years old. Of the about 700 phlebotomine sand fly species, only about 70 are anthropophagous, mainly belonging to the two genera,  Lutzomyia (New World) and  Phlebotomus (Old World). Only female flies suck blood, but also – like males – they suck plant sugars, e.g., aphid honeydew, nectaries, or fruits. Phlebotomines transmit viral and bacterial diseases but are mainly known as vectors of  Leishmania.

Phlebotomines are holometabolous insects’ larvae developing in the soil. Adults are small, hairy  Diptera, holding their pointed wings erect in a characteristic manner above their bodies – like a vertical V.


Phlebotomines are found mainly in the tropics and subtropics, but some species also occur in temperate regions. There are no phlebotomines on the Pacific islands and in New Zealand. The habitats vary strongly, e.g., dry hot deserts and tropical rain...
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Zoomorphologie, Zellbiologie und ParasitologieHeinrich-Heine-UniversitätDüsseldorfGermany