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The Lutzomyia longipalpis complex: a brief natural history of aggregation-sex pheromone communication

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  • Carolina N. Spiegel
  • Denise B.dos Santos Dias
  • Alejandra S. Araki
  • James G. C. Hamilton
  • Reginaldo P. Brazil
  • Théresa M. Jones
Article number580
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/11/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Parasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Number of pages15
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In this paper we review the natural history of pheromone communication and the current diversity of aggregation-sex pheromones in the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis. This species complex is the main vector of Leishmania infantum, the agent of visceral leishmaniasis in the Americas. The identification of variation in pheromone chemotypes combined with molecular and sound analyses have all contributed to our understanding of the extent of divergence among cryptic members of this complex. The importance of chemical signals as pre-mating barriers and drivers of speciation is discussed. Moreover, the importance of aggregation-sex pheromones as sexually selected signals is highlighted with evidence from the literature suggesting their potential role in species and mate recognition as well as mate assessment. The distinct evolutionary forces possibly involved are briefly reviewed and discussed in the context of this intriguing insect.