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18 January 2020 Sand Fly Colony Crash Tentatively Attributed to Nematode Infestation
Kevin B. Temeyer, Kristie G. Schlechte, Laryssa B. Dandeneau
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Maintenance of laboratory colonies of insects and other arthropod pests offers significant research advantages. The availability, age, sex, housing conditions, nutrition, and relative uniformity over time of biological material for research facilitate comparison of results between experiments that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. A laboratory research colony of Phlebotomus papatasi (Scopoli), old world sand flies, was maintained with high-colony productivity for a number of years, but within a relatively short (4–6 mo) time period, colony productivity declined from over 10,000 flies per week to less than 100 per week. Mites and nematodes were both visible in the larval medium; however, the mites had been present throughout high productivity periods; therefore, it seemed reasonable to investigate the nematodes. PCR amplification of 18S rRNA yielded a clean cDNA sequence identified by BLAST search as Procephalobus sp. 1 WB-2008 (Rhabditida: Panagrolaimidae) small subunit ribosomal RNA gene, GenBank EU543179.1, with 475/477 nucleotide identities. Nematode samples were collected and identified as Tricephalobus steineri, (Andrássy, 1952) Rühm, 1956 (Rhabditida: Panagrolaimidae) based on morphological characteristics of the esophagus and the male copulatory apparatus. Mites (Tyrophagus putrescentiae [Acariformes: Acaridae]) may have played an additional predatory role in the loss of sand fly colony productivity. We hypothesized that the origin of the nematode infestation was rabbit dung from a local rabbitry used in preparation of the larval medium. Colony productivity was fully restored within 3 mo (two sand fly generational periods) by replacement of the rabbit dung from a clean source for use to prepare sand fly larval medium.

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America 2020. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.
Kevin B. Temeyer, Kristie G. Schlechte, and Laryssa B. Dandeneau "Sand Fly Colony Crash Tentatively Attributed to Nematode Infestation," Journal of Medical Entomology 57(4), 1301-1304, (18 January 2020).
Received: 27 September 2019; Accepted: 22 December 2019; Published: 18 January 2020

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insect colony maintenance
nematode identification
Phlebotomus papatasi
sand fly
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