Interspecific hybridization and genetic variability of Phlebotomus sandflies

K. N. Ghosh, J. M. Mukhopadhyay, H. Guzman, R. B. Tesh, L. E. Munstermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The first successful hybridization is reported between Phlebotomus papatasi and P. duboscqi, two important Old World sandfly vectors of leishmaniasis and other diseases. Laboratory strains of P. papatasi and P. duboscqi were separable by six diagnostic enzyme loci: Est-3, Idh-1, Mdh-2, Mpi, Tre-1 and Tre-3. Hybrids between the two species were verified by the recovery of heterozygous isozyme patterns for the diagnostic loci. No F2 or backcross progeny were obtained. P. papatasi was separated from P. bergeroti by three diagnostic enzyme loci: Est-3, Mpi and Pgd. The isozyme patterns of P. bergeroti contain elements of both P. duboscqi and P. papatasi, although seven diagnostic loci (Est-3, Idh-1, Me, Mpi, Pgd, Tre-1 and Tre-3) separated P. bergeroti from P. duboscqi. Genetic variability profiles of the three species were established for 20 enzyme loci. Three geographically distant strains of P. papatasi from Calcutta, Maharashtra and Israel had isozyme genetic distances of < 0.05. The recently established Calcutta strain showed an unexpectedly low genetic variability with only one (Idh-2) of 20 loci being polymorphic (average heterozygosity of 1.9%) in contrast to 5-8 polymorphic loci (10-12% heterozygosity) in the Maharashtra and Israel strains. Mass and single pair crosses between the three P. papatasi strains were fertile with normal progeny numbers. Thus we found no signs of speciation in P. papatasi.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-88
Number of pages11
JournalMedical and Veterinary Entomology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1999


  • Hybrid sterility
  • India
  • Isozyme electrophoresis
  • Israel
  • Leishmaniasis vectors
  • P. duboscqi
  • P. papatasi
  • Phlebotomus bergeroti
  • Population genetics
  • Sand flies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • veterinary(all)
  • Insect Science


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