OBJECTIVES: To investigate the insecticide susceptibility of two geographically separated Lutzomyia longipalpis populations (Lapinha and Montes Claros) with different histories of insecticide exposure (i.e. no exposure and repeated exposure, respectively).
METHODS: (i) Bioassay monitoring of sand fly survival over time when exposed to a range of insecticides; and (ii) analysis of the level of insecticide detoxification enzymes in individual sand flies caught at both study sites. Insecticides tested were the organophosphates malathion and fenitrothion and the pyrethroids lambda-cyhalothrin, permethrin and deltamethrin.
RESULTS: Survival analyses showed that whilst there was no overall significant difference in susceptibility of both populations to organophosphates, Lapinha sand flies were significantly more susceptible to pyrethroids than those from Montes Claros. Multiple regression analyses also showed that insecticide susceptibility in both locations varied with sand fly sex. The relative susceptibilities of the two sand fly populations to tested insecticides were also compared. Thus, Montes Claros sand flies were most susceptible to malathion, followed by fenitrothion, deltamethrin and permethrin. Those from Lapinha were most susceptible to lambda-cyhalothrin, followed by malathion, permethrin, deltamethrin and fenitrothion. Biochemical analyses demonstrated that Montes Claros sand flies had significantly lower insecticide detoxification enzyme activity than Lapinha sand flies.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results are the first record of significantly reduced susceptibility to the insecticides used in control of wild populations of Lu. longipalpis. They demonstrate the importance of evaluating chemicals against this species by conventional bioassay and microplate assays before and during spraying programmes.