Sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae) are inconspicuous, hematophagous insects, inhabiting tropical, subtropical, arid as well as temperate regions worldwide. Of the approximately 850 species described, 70 are of medical and veterinary relevance by transmitting parasites (Leishmania spp.), bacteria (Bartonella bacilliformis) and several arthropod-borne (arbo) viruses. In Europe, 23 sand fly species are known to occur. Within Europe, sand flies were considered to be endemic only to the Mediterranean regions and the Alps were considered to display a natural barrier for their northward distribution. However, a Central European occurrence of sand flies was proven by findings of sand flies in Germany in 1999. In 2009 Phlebotomus mascittii, the most widely distributed sand fly species in Europe, was also found in Austria for the first time. Sand flies in Central Europe are considered to be remnants of post-glacial dispersal from Mediterranean refugial areas. Small populations have remained in microclimatically suited habitats and were overlooked for a long time. Several recent findings proof that known populations are stable, but the actual distribution of sand flies in Central Europe still needs to be surveyed.
The PhD thesis “Phylogeography of Austrian sand fly populations – where do they come from and where will they go?” at the Institute of Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine of the Medical University of Vienna aims to clarify the current sand fly distribution and species composition in Austria, potential dispersal routes and the medical relevance of Austrian sand flies as vectors for pathogens. Proven species are identified by morphologic and molecular methods and DNA-barcodes will be generated.
Project status: active
Subscribe to our ABOL news!
- M. SonnleitnerABOL BioBlitz at the Day of Biodiversity in the National Park Hohe Tauern/Lungau28. July, 2021 - 10:41
The last BioBlitz this year was carried out by ABOL in the course of the Biodiversity Day in the Hohe Tauern National Park. The study area ranged from montane to alpine altitudes in the upper Mur valley in the national park municipality of Muhr im Lungau. The JUFA Hotel in St. Michael, the Sticklerhütte and […]
- Sabine SchoderABOL BioBlitz at the Tyrolean Day of Biodiversity in the Nature Park Kaunergrat14. July, 2021 - 10:00
In Tyrol, ABOL was once again able to participate in the Day of Biodiversity with a BioBlitz Initiative. Selected areas in the Nature Park Kaunergrat were examined – from wet to dry, lean meadows to bog areas, boulder fields, alpine meadows and alpine grasslands. In addition to butterfly experts, who began their surveys with light […]
- M. SonnleitnerGEO day of nature and ABOL BioBlitz in the Biosphere Reserve Nockberge7. July, 2021 - 14:27
The third ABOL BioBlitz of this year took place as part of the GEO day of nature in the Biosphere Reserve Nockberge in Carinthia. 70 experts and companions surveyed animal, plant and fungus species at the basis of the Zunderwand and in the vicinity of the Erlacherhaus. Due to the special geological situation, where limestone […]