The sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis Lutz & Neiva (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae), the main vector of Leishmania infantum in the Americas, is believed to be a species complex, although the status of different Brazilian populations is still somewhat unclear. Preliminary analysis of the acoustic signals that are produced during copulation by L. longipalpis males has suggested the existence of three sibling species in Brazil. In the current report, we analyze in more detail a number of parameters of the copulatory courtship songs of L. longipalpis males from four allopatric populations from different parts of the country (Marajó Island, Natal, Jacobina, and Lapinha Cave) and from two sympatric populations from the locality of Sobral, where two types of males can be differentiated by the number of pale spots (one or two pairs) found on the abdomen. We show that males from the localities of Natal, Marajó, and Sobral (two-spot morph) have very similar songs composed of successive bursts, which are modulated in frequency and amplitude. No significant differences were found in the song parameters of these three populations. In contrast, one-spot males from Sobral and males from Jacobina and Lapinha produce songs that are made of pulses but with distinct patterns for each population and significant differences in all song parameters studied. The results suggest that the L. longipalpis complex in Brazil is composed of four sibling species and that the differences in song patterns between the populations are consistent with the level of divergence found in the period gene.
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Vol. 41 • No. 5