Phlebotomus papatasi (Scopoli) (Diptera: Psychodidae) is the most important vector of Leishmania major, and previous experiments revealed that Leishmania development in the sand fly midgut is significantly affected by temperature. Therefore, we maintained blood-fed P. papatasi females at 23 or 28°C to understand the effect of temperature on bloodmeal digestion and developmental times of this sand fly. At the lower temperature, the metabolic processes were slower and developmental times were longer: defecation, oviposition, and egg hatch started later and took longer to complete. Also, the mortality of blood-fed females was significantly lower. The defecation of bloodmeal remains was delayed for 12–36 h at 23°C compared with the group maintained at 28°C. Such delay would provide more time for Leishmania to establish the midgut infection and could partially explain the increased susceptibility of P. papatasi to Leishmania major at 23°C. In both experimental groups, blood-fed females laid similar numbers of eggs (mean 60 and 70, maximum 104 and 115 per female). Egg numbers were positively correlated with the amount of hematin excreted in feces of ovipositing females. In parallel experiments, autogeny was recorded in 8% of females. The autogenous egg batches were smaller (mean, 12; range, 1–39), but they all produced viable larvae.
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Vol. 44 • No. 1