Navigation of Lutzomyia longipalpis (Diptera: Psychodidae) under dusk or starlight conditions

Mellor, H. E. and Hamilton, J. G.C. (2003) Navigation of Lutzomyia longipalpis (Diptera: Psychodidae) under dusk or starlight conditions. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 93 (4). pp. 315-322. ISSN 0007-4853

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The responses of male and female Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva) to different wavelengths of light was tested by presenting the sandflies with two light sources simultaneously, a series of test wavelengths between 350-670 nm and a 400 nm control. To test whether L. longipalpis could discriminate between the test and control, three sets of experiments were carried out in which the test wavelengths were presented at higher, equivalent or lower intensity than the control. In all three experiments, ultra-violet (350 nm) and blue-green-yellow (490-546 nm) light was more attractive to L. longipalpis than the control wavelength. However, at low intensity, UV was less attractive, than equivalent or higher intensity UV light. At intensities equivalent to or higher than the control wavelength, ultra-violet light was more attractive than blue-green. Furthermore, at low intensity, green-yellow (546 nm) light was more attractive to males whereas blue-green (490 nm) was more attractive to females. Blue-violet (400 nm) and orange-red (600-670 nm) light were least attractive in all three sets of experiments. Response function experiments indicated that the responses were dependent on both intensity and wavelength and that therefore more than one photoreceptor must be involved in the response. The results indicated that L. longipalpis can discriminate between different wavelengths at different intensities and thus have true colour vision. It also suggests that L. longipalpis may be able to navigate at dusk or under moonlight or starlight conditions using light in the blue-green-yellow part of the spectrum. The difference in response of males and females to light in this region is interesting and may indicate the different ecology of the sexes at night. Overall, these results may have important implications for sandfly trap design.

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Journal Article
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Bulletin of Entomological Research
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30 Sep 2019 22:19
Last Modified:
15 Sep 2023 00:59