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      Early Cretaceous trypanosomatids associated with fossil sand fly larvae in Burmese amber


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          Early Cretaceous flagellates with characters typical of trypanosomatids were found in the gut of sand fly larvae, as well as in surrounding debris, in Burmese amber. This discovery supports a hypothesis in which free-living trypanosomatids could have been acquired by sand fly larvae in their feeding environment and then carried transtadially into the adult stage. At some point in time, specific genera were introduced into vertebrates, thus establishing a dixenous life cycle.

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          Most cited references 24

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          Bacterial colonisation in the gut of Phlebotomus duboseqi (Diptera: Psychodidae): transtadial passage and the role of female diet.

          Bacteria isolated from the gut of different developmental stages of Philebotomus duboseqi Neveu-Lcmaire, 1906 belonged almost all to aerobic or facultatively anaerobic gram-negative rods. In females, the highest bacterial counts were observed two days after bloodfeeding; seven days after bloodfeeding the bacterial counts returned to pre-feeding levels. Most isolates were identified phenotypically as Ochrobactrum sp. The distinctiveness and homogeneity of the phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of Ochrobactrum isolates indicated that they belonged to a single strain (designated AK). This strain was acquired by larvae from food and passaged transtadially: it was isolated from the guts of fourth-instar larvae shortly before pupation, from pupae as well from newly emerged females. Most other bacteria found in females were acquired from the sugar solution fed to adults. To determine if the midgut lectin activity may serve as antibacterial agent females were membrane-fed on blood with addition of inhibitory carbohydrates. No significant differences in bacterial infections were found between experimental and control groups and we suppose that the lectin activity has no effect on gram-negative bacteria present in sandfly gut.
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            Paleoleishmania proterus n. gen., n. sp., (Trypanosomatidae: Kinetoplastida) from Cretaceous Burmese amber.

            A trypanosomatid (Trypanosomatidae: Kinetoplastida) associated with a blood-filled female sand fly in Cretaceous Burmese amber, is described in the new genus and species, Paleoleishmania proterus. The genus Paleoleishmania is established as a collective genus for digenetic fossil trypanosomes associated with sand flies. Amastigotes, promastigotes and paramastigotes are described. Paleoleishmania proterus is the first fossil kinetoplastid and provides a minimum age for the digenetic Trypanosomatidae. Its discovery indicates that vector-borne pathogens had been established by the Early Cretaceous.
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              Entomopathogens of phlebotomine sand flies: laboratory experiments and natural infections.

               Alon Warburg (1991)
              The susceptibility of different geographical strains of Phlebotomus papatasi to a cytoplasmic polyhedrosis virus (CPV) was determined experimentally by feeding polyhedra to larvae. Of the Indian P. papatasi, 15.6% became infected, whereas Egyptian P. papatasi were mostly refractory. Infection rates were not augmented in colony flies from the Jordan Valley, 23.8% of which were naturally infected with CPV. The infectivity of Serratia marcescens and Beauvaria bassiana to P. papatasi were determined experimentally. A suspension of B. bassiana spores or S. marcescens bacteria, ingested by P. papatasi in sucrose solution, did not significantly augment mortality rates or reduce the number of eggs oviposited. However, B. bassiana spores smeared on a filter paper constituting 1 or 5% of the surface area available to flies induced 100% mortality of P. papatasi on days 5 and 4, respectively. Mortality in Lutzomyia longipalpis reached 100% on day 4. There were markedly lower mortality rates in the control groups and more eggs were produced by these females (P. papatasi: control = 48.5; experimental = 0.9-1.6 eggs/female; L. longipalpis; control = 17.1; experimental = 0 eggs/female). From wild-caught Colombian Lutzomyia spp., a nonfluorescent pseudomonas, an Entomophthorales fungus, and a Trypanosomatid protozoon (probably Leptomonas) were isolated in culture media. Gregarines (Ascogregarina saraviae) and nematodes (Tylenchida and Spirurida) were also recorded. In laboratory-reared flies, an ectoparasitic fungus was associated with high mortality rates of first instar Lutzomyia spp. larvae. Opportunistic ectoparasitic aggregates of bacteria, yeast, and fungi on the tarsi of colonized L. longipalpis and P. papatasi hindered their mobility and were associated with reduced colony vigor. Aspergillus flavus, B. bassiana, and S. marcescens were isolated from laboratory-bred P. papatasi adults.

                Author and article information

                Role: ND
                Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
                Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz
                Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde (Rio de Janeiro )
                August 2007
                : 102
                : 5
                : 635-637
                [1 ] Oregon State University United States
                Product Information: website
                TROPICAL MEDICINE

                Parasitology, Infectious disease & Microbiology

                Cretaceous, sand fly larvae, trypanosomatids


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