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vol.16Lophopidae of the amazon basin with keys to new world genera and species (HOMOPTERA: FULGOROIDEA).Robin Christopher Best (1949 - 1986) author indexsubject indexarticles search
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Acta Amazonica

Print version ISSN 0044-5967On-line version ISSN 1809-4392

Acta Amaz. vol.16  Manaus  1986 


A pictorial field guide for the rapid identification of sandflies (DIPTERA: PSYCHODIDAE), commonly encountered in Pará state, Brazil.

L. Ryan** 

R. Lainson** 

J. J. Shaw** 

**Wellcome Parasitology Unit, Instituto Evandro Chagas, Fundação SESP, CP. 3,Belém, 66 000 Pará, Brazil.


A pictorial field guide to the 30 species of sandfly most commonly encountered in Pará State is presented, based on the easily recognised external characters of the length of the 5th palpal segment, thoracic infuscation, abdominal colour and head and body size. In most cases this allows identification to the species. In others, especially with females, it gives an indication of the species, which may then be confirmed with data from more detailed taxanomix studies. This type of field guide helps in teaching, rapid sorting of flies prior to dissection and in acquainting visitors with the variety of species present in a given area.

A rapid technique for the taxonomic sorting of unmounted, freshly killed female sandflies is required, prior to the dissection of large numbers of a particular species. Such a method is useful in areas where numerous species occur in studies on natural flagellate infections, age determination and for ecological studies. With the above points in mind a pictorial field guide has been designed that enables the identification of unmounted, unmacerated specimens of the 30 more commonly encountered species of phleboto-mine sandflies (***) in Pará State, North Brazil. It is based on the easily recognised external characters of the length of the 5th palpal segment, thoracic infuscation, ad-dominal colour and proboscis and body size.

Taxonomy of male phlebotomine sandflies is based on the structure of the genitalia and, as most of this is external, a wholly external character key is readily made. Female taxonomy, however, is based on the internal character of the cibarium, pharynx and sperma thecae. In order to produce an external character key we therefore return to an unso phisticated "phlebotometry" (see Martins et al., 1978 p. 3 for review), using relative lengths of the proboscis, palpal segments and body, along with the degree of infuscation. Ihis idea is not new; indeed many sandfly specialists presently use external characters to separate certain species (H. Fraiha, R. P. Lane, P. D. Ready, D. G. Young and R. D. Ward personal communications 1983 & 1984).

A key used to separate five anthropophillic sandflies by Biagi (1966), in Mexico, was based mainly on palpal segment length and infuscation. Floch and Abonnenc (1952) stressed the use of relative lengths of palpal segments in their keys to the sandflies of French Guiana, and four members of the shannoni group have been similarly separated according to the degree of infuscation by Morales et al. (1982). The use of thoracic infuscation as a reliable character seems to be gaining favour, having been used by young & Fairchild (1974) and Ready & Fraiha (1981). Indeed Chariotis 1974) showed the usefulness of thoracic infuscation to sepenate 7 anthropophillic species, during studies onvesicular stomatitis in Panama. Identification using external characters is essential for work on viral isolations from sandflies, where bulk samples of whole sandflies are used.

Perhaps the major advantage of a simple visual guide is for teaching purposes. Technical staff in this lnstitute are able to identify most of the species they encounter without having to use the standard, more unwieldly (and in many cases unavailable) internal character keys, and the guides presented below have allowed rapid species sorting prior to the dissection of sandflies in our leismaniasis study areas (Ryan et at. ,1985).


É apresentado um "levantamento ilustrado" dos 30 flebotomíneos mais comumente encontrados no Estado do Pará, Brasil, usando-se características externas, com as medidas do quinto segmento das palpos, cor do tórax e do abdomen, e medidas da cabeça e do cor po. Com isto é possível, na maioria dos casos, levar à identificação até a espécie. Exis_ tem algumas espécies, entretanto, que são mais difíceis de serem identificadas, particu larmente as fêmeas, havendo nestes casos, necessidade de um exame taxonômico mais deta lhado, para que se possa concluir a identificação. Esta orientação ilustrada é particu larmente útil a técnicos de laboratório, estudantes e entomólogos visitantes.

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