Impact of Habitat Degradation on Phlebotominae (Diptera: Psychodidae) of Tropical Dry Forests in Northern Colombia

Bruno L. Travi, Gregory H. Adler, Margarita Lozano, Horacio Cadena, James Montoya-Lerma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


We examined changes in the phlebotomine fauna resulting from human intervention in a tropical dry forest of Northern Colombia where visceral and cutaneous leishmaniases are endemic. A natural forest reserve (Colosó) and a highly degraded area (San Andrés de Sotavento [SAS]) were sampled monthly for 8 mo using Shannon traps, sticky traps, and resting-site collections. Overall abundances were higher in Colosó (15,988) than in SAS (2,324), and species richness of phlebotomines was greater in the forest reserve (11 species) than in the degraded habitat (seven species). Fisher alpha, a measure of diversity, reinforced this trend. Both sand fly communities were dominated by Lutzomyia evansi (Nuòez-Tovar), vector of Leishmania chagasi (Cunha & Chagas), representing 92 and 81% of all captures in Colosó and SAS, respectively. Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva), the common vector of visceral leishmaniasis, accounted for 4-7% of the sand fly community. Lutzomyia panamemis (Shannon) and Lutzomyia gomezi (Nitzulescu), putative vectors of Leishmania braziliensis (Vianna), had low abundances at both study sites. The zoophilic species Lutzomyia cayennensis (Floch & Abonnenc) and Lutzomyia trinidadensis (Newstead) were present in variable numbers according to trapping methods and site. Habitat degradation negatively affected sand fly communities, but medically important species were able to exploit modified environments, thereby contributing to Leishmania endemicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-456
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of medical entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Colombia
  • Leishmania braziliensis
  • Leishmania chagasi
  • Lutzomyia evansi
  • Lutzomyia longipalpis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • General Veterinary
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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