Distribution of sandflies (Diptera: Phlebotominae) in forest remnants and adjacent matrix habitats in Brazilian Amazonia

Distribuição de flebótomos (Diptera: Phlebotominae) em remanescentes florestais e habitats matrizes adjacentes na Amazônia Brasileira

We studied the distribution of sandflies (Diptera: Phlebotominae) - insect vectors of several diseases, including leishmaniasis - at the interface between primary forest and cattle pasture and between primary forest and secondary forest (< 15 yr old) in Southern Brazilian Amazonia. Sandflies were collected by using a combination of light traps and traps having vertebrates as baits. Strong differences in abundance and species richness were found between primary forests and pastures. Very few sandfly species were found in the pastures, and those that were found generally occurred at lower densities when compared to the adjacent forest. At least one species (Lutzomyia lainsoni), however, can become extremely abundant in pastures, possibly depending on the presence of cattle and water bodies. Differences between primary forests and secondary forests were not so strong, although the latter usually had fewer species and lower population abundances. No species were exclusively found in pastures or secondary forests; the species present in these two habitats were a subset of those found in primary forests. The distance to the edge did not affect the abundance, richness and composition of sandfly species in primary forests. The abundance and richness of sandflies, however, was greater in forest edges facing pastures than those facing secondary forests. This pattern could not be explained by an influx of species and individuals from the adjacent pasture, suggesting the existence of in situ differences between the different types of forest edges studied.

Amazonia; edge effects; forest fragmentation; Phlebotominae; Lutzomyia

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