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Attraction of Lutzomyia longipalpis to synthetic sex-aggregation pheromone: Effect of release rate and proximity of adjacent pheromone sources

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Article numbere0007007
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>19/12/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number12
Number of pages19
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In South America, the Protist parasite that causes visceral leishmaniasis, a potentially fatal human disease, is transmitted by blood-feeding female Lutzomyia longipalpis sand flies. A synthetic copy of the male produced sex-aggregation pheromone offers new opportunities for vector control applications. We have previously shown that the pheromone placed in plastic sachets (lures) can attract both females and males to insecticide treated sites for up to 3 months. To use the pheromone lure in a control program we need to understand how the application of lures in the field can be optimised. In this study we investigated the effect of increasing the number of lures and their proximity to each other on their ability to attract Lu. longipalpis. Also for the first time we applied a Bayesian log-linear model rather than a classic simple (deterministic) log-linear model to fully exploit the field-collected data. We found that sand fly response to pheromone is significantly related to the quantity of pheromone and is not influenced by the proximity of other pheromone sources. Thus sand flies are attracted to the pheromone source at a non-linear rate determined by the amount of pheromone being released. This rate is independent of the proximity of other pheromone releasing traps and indicates the role of the pheromone in aggregation formation. These results have important implications for optimisation of the pheromone as a vector control tool and indicate that multiple lures placed in relatively close proximity to each other (5 m apart) are unlikely to interfere with one another.