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Acta Tropica
Vol. 161, 2016, Pages: 1–7

DNA barcoding of Sri Lankan phlebotomine sand flies using cytochrome c oxidase subunit I reveals the presence of cryptic species

Kanapathy Gajapathy, Tharmatha Tharmasegaram, Thampoe Eswaramohan, Lalanthika B.S.L. Peries, Raveendra Jayanetti, Sinnathamby N. Surendran

Department of Zoology, University of Jaffna, Thirunalvely, Jaffna, Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka is known for high diversity of phlebotomine sand flies and prevalence of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis; a disease vectored by sand flies. The taxonomy of phlebotomine sand flies is complicated and often the diversity is over/underrated. The current study aims to use the cytochrome c oxidase gene subunit 1 (COI) sequence and formulate a barcode for the sand fly species in Sri Lanka. A total of 70 samples comprising seven species morphologically identified and collected from dry zone districts of Hambantota, Anuradhapura, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Jaffna were processed. Neighbour-joining (NJ) tree created using the sequences revealed the species identity is compatible with the current morphology based identification. Further the analysis delineated morphologically identified Se. bailyiSe babu babu and Se babu insularis into genetically distinct groups.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: bp, base pairs; COI, cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1; CL, cutaneous leishmaniasis; VL, visceral leishmaniasis.

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