Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva, 1912) (Diptera: Psychodidae) is a new world sand fly. It was the first Lutzomyia species to be recognised as a vector of Leishmania in South and Central America. The female L. longipalpis transmits a protozoan parasite Leishmania infantum (also know as L. chagasi).

The strain of sand flies used for the sequencing were originally collected by Prof Richard Ward in the 1988 from Jacobina, Bahia State, Brazil. They were kept at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine before transfer to their present site based at Lancaster University in NW England.

Lutzomyia longipalpis is thought to be a species complex but the number within the complex and their relationships are unclear. The sibling species are thought to differ in their vectorial capacity and genome sequencing will help to identify the most important vector species. This knowledge is vital to understand the epidemiology and control of this neglected disease in South and Central America

Lutzomyia longipalpis

The sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis is distributed from Mexico to Argentina, including all the countries of Central America (except Belize) and most of tropical South America east of the Andes (except Guyana, Surinam and French Guiana). Across its distribution range is the major vector of American visceral leishmaniasis. Studies suggest that L. longipalpis may be a single heterogeneous species or a species complex.

Genome assemblies and gene sets