The sand fly, Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva) reputedly is a complex of cryptic species; however, there is currently no consensus as to the number of species in the complex or their geographic distributions. We conducted phylogenetic analyses of 31 populations from throughout the species range, using seven isozyme loci and genes in the mitochondrial genome. Analyses of these two independent sets of markers were largely concordant and revealed four distinct clades that support the existence of four species. The four clades have distinct geographic ranges: (1) Brazil (Species A = Lu. longipalpis sensu stricto), (2) Laran (Species B = Lu. pseudolongipalpis), (3) cis-Andean (Species C), and (4) trans-Andean (Species D). The cis-Andean clade may be subdivided further into two groups, one in Colombia and one in northwestern Venezuela, but their taxonomic status remains unresolved. Knowledge that Lu. longipalpis is a complex of species may ultimately shed light on anomalies in the epidemiology of visceral leishmaniasis in the New World.
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Vol. 40 • No. 5