An increase of larval rearing temperature does not affect the susceptibility of Phlebotomus sergenti to Leishmania tropica but effectively eliminates the gregarine Psychodiella sergenti

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Abstract

Background: In mosquitoes, it has previously been shown that rearing conditions of immature stages have an effect on the vector competence of adults. Here, we studied the impact of different larval rearing temperatures (27 °C versus 32 °C) on the sand fly Phlebotomus sergenti Parrot, 1917 and its susceptibility to two parasites: Leishmania tropica Wright, 1903, a dixenous trypanosomatid transmissible from sand flies to humans, and Psychodiella sergenti Lantova, Volf & Votypka, 2010, a monoxenous sand fly gregarine. Results: Increased rearing temperature (32 °C) affected the larval developmental times and size of P. sergenti adults but had no effect on the susceptibility of P. sergenti to L. tropica. No differences were found in Leishmania infection rates or in the intensities of Leishmania infection. Interestingly, increased larval rearing temperature significantly suppressed the development of gregarines. All 117 control sand flies tested were infected with Ps. sergenti, and the mean number of gamonts per individual was 29.5. In contrast, only three of 120 sand flies maintained at 32 °C were infected and the mean number of gamonts per individual was just 0.04. Conclusions: We demonstrated that the increased rearing temperature of P. sergenti larvae had no impact on the development of L. tropica in adult sand flies but had a profound effect on the gregarine Ps. sergenti. We suggest that increasing the larval rearing temperature by 5 °C is a simple and effective way to clean sand fly colonies infected by gregarines.

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Jancarova, M., Hlavacova, J., Votypka, J., & Volf, P. (2016). An increase of larval rearing temperature does not affect the susceptibility of Phlebotomus sergenti to Leishmania tropica but effectively eliminates the gregarine Psychodiella sergenti. Parasites and Vectors, 9(1), 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-016-1841-6

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