Sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) are small blood-feeding dipterans that are primary vectors of numerous human and livestock pathogens. Effective surveillance programs with accurate identification tools are critical in development and implementation of modern integrated pest management programs. Although morphological keys are available for North American species, identification can still be challenging owing to the nature of sample preparation and incompatibility with molecular or biochemical-based pathology assays. Further, the potential for introduction of Old World or other exotic species is not accounted for by current keys. Herein, we present the development and validation of a restriction fragment-length polymorphism-based molecular identification method. Specifically, cytochrome c oxidase subunit I, a mitochondrial DNA marker, was used to distinguish two species of adult sand flies indigenous to eastern North America with two exotic species not yet known to occur in the United States.
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Vol. 50 • No. 4