Lutzomyia França is the largest and most diverse sand fly genus in the New World and contains all the species involved in the transmission of American visceral leishmaniasis (AVL). Morphological characters were used to test the monophyly and to infer phylogenetic relationships among members of the Lutzomyia subgenus. Fifty-two morphological characters from male and female adult specimens belonging to 18 species of Lu. (Lutzomyia) were scored and analyzed. The resulting phylogeny confirms the monophyly of this subgenus and reveals four main internal clades. These four clades, however, do not support the classification of the subgenus in two series, longipalpis and cavernicola, because neither is necessarily monophyletic. Knowledge on phylogenetic relationships among these relevant vectors of AVL should be used as a tool for monitoring target taxa and a first step for establishing an early warning system for disease control.
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Vol. 47 • No. 1