Phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera, Psychodidae) are important vectors of human pathogens. Moreover, they possess monoxenous parasites, including gregarines of the genus Psychodiella Votypka, Lantova, and Volf, which can negatively affect laboratory-reared colonies, and have been considered as potential candidates in biological control. In this study, effects of the gregarine Psychodiella sergenti Lantova, Volf, and Votypka on its natural host Phlebotomus sergenti Parrot were evaluated. The gregarines increased the mortality of immature sand fly stages, and this effect was even more apparent when the infected larvae were reared in more dense conditions. Similarly, the gregarines negatively affected the survival of adult males and females. However, no impact was observed on the mortality of blood-fed females, the proportion of females that laid eggs, and the number of eggs oviposited. The 10-times higher infection dose (50 versus five gregarine oocysts per one sand fly egg) led to ∼10 times more gamonts in fourth-instar larvae and two or three times more gamonts in females and males, respectively. Our study clearly shows that Ps. sergenti is harmful to its natural host under laboratory conditions. However, its potential for use in biological control is questionable as a result of several factors, including this parasite's strict host specificity.
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Vol. 48 • No. 5