Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz and Neiva) is a species complex of Lutzomyia pseudolongipalpis (Arrivillaga and Feliciangeli) and at least three other as yet undefined siblings. Isozyme and mitochondrial studies of allopatric populations across Central and South America have suggested the presence of four “clades” that have been hypothesized to have arisen mainly because of geographical isolation mechanisms. Parallel studies of sexual behavior as well as cross-mating and genetic analysis, of both allopatric and sympatric populations, suggest at least four sibling species that do not seem to correspond to the defined four “clades.” In an effort to understand this apparent discrepancy, sympatric populations of L. longipalpis from a single South American country, Brazil, are being studied. In Brazil, three putative species can be identified by their male-produced sex pheromones: (S)-9-methylgermacrene-B, 3-methyl-α-himachalene, and a cembrene. We report here that analysis by coupled gas chromatography–mass spectrometry shows that L. longipalpis from Jaíbas, Minas Gerais State, Brazil, occurs as two sympatric sex pheromone chemotypes. One chemotype is the cembrene type previously recorded in a L. longipalpis population from Sobral, Ceará State, Brazil, and the other is a new cembrene isomer not previously observed in L. longipalpis. The finding of this new chemotype strongly suggests that the L. longipalpis species complex in Brazil consists of four members rather than the three previously recognized and confirms previous analysis of genetic variation that had suggested the presence of a complex in Brazil.
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Vol. 41 • No. 6