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Parasit Vectors. 2008 Jul 15;1(1):22. doi: 10.1186/1756-3305-1-22.

Lutzomyia adiketis sp. n. (Diptera: Phlebotomidae), a vector of Paleoleishmania neotropicum sp. n. (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae) in Dominican amber.

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  • 1Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, 97331, USA.



Amber fossils can be used to trace the history of disease-vector associations because microorganisms are preserved "in situ" inside the alimentary tract and body cavity of blood-sucking insects.


Lutzomyia adiketis sp. n. (Phlebotomidae: Diptera) is described from Dominican amber as a vector of Paleoleishmania neotropicum sp. n. (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae). The fossil sand fly differs from all previously described extinct and extant members of the genus by the following combination of characters: Sc forked with the branches meeting the costa and radius veins; wing L/W value of 4.1; a delta value of 18; a ratio beta/alpha value of 0.86, and the shape and size of the spatulate rods on the ninth sternite. The trypanosomatid is characterized by the structure of its promastigotes, amastigotes and paramastigotes and its transmission by an extinct species of sand fly.


Morphological characters show that the fossil sand fly is a new extinct species and that it is host to a digenetic species of trypanosomatid. This study provides the first fossil evidence that Neotropical sand flies were vectors of trypanosomatids in the mid-Tertiary (20-30 mya).

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