Home » Volumes » Volume 45 January/February 2012 » First occurrence of the human biting midge Leptoconops brasiliensis (Lutz) (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in the triple border of Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia

First occurrence of the human biting midge Leptoconops brasiliensis (Lutz) (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) in the triple border of Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia

Felipe Arley Costa PessoaI; Eloy Guillermo Castellón-BermúdezII; Jansen Fernandes MedeirosIII; Luís Marcelo Aranha CamargoIV

IPrograma de Ecologia de Doênças Transmissíveis na Amazônia, Instituto Leônidas & Maria Deane, Fundação Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Manaus, AM IICoordenação de Pesquisa em Ciências da Saúde, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Manaus, AM IIIEscola Superior de Ciências da Saúde, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia, Universidade do Estado do Amazonas, Manaus, AM IVInstituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade de São Paulo, Monte Negro, RO

DOI: 10.1590/S0037-86822012000100030

The Ceratopotogonidae are a large and diverse family of small diptera known as biting midges. There are about 102 living genera in the world1 and 50 genera are found in the neotropical region2. Although there is high diversity, only four genera suck blood from vertebrates, namely, Culicoides Latreille, Forcypomyia Meigen, Autroconops Wirth & Lee, and Leptoconops Skuse. The genus Leptoconops is a diurnally biting species found in various parts of the world. The immediate effects of a bite are considered less severe than the subsequent lesions that can result3. These lesions were described pathologically by Steffen4, who examined patients following a particularly severe infestation of L. torrens (Townsend) at Palm Springs, California. He noted indurated papules, which could remain intensely itching for months. Aussel5 claimed that the bite from L. albiventris de Meijere in the French Polynesia often became infected, resulting in general edema and lymphadenopathy. As a result of their larval habitats on beaches, a number of tropical species of Leptoconops have been mentioned as a significant problem for the tourist industry in the Caribbean6. Lowri al.7 successfully infected Leptoconops bequaerti (Kieffer) with the filarial worm Mansonella ozzardi (Manson) in Haiti.

There are until now 12 species of this genus, distributed in four subgenera, in the neotropical region. Biting midges were collected during a medical entomological survey in Assis, Brazil, a municipality located in the State of Acre, Brazil bordering Iñapari, Madre de Dios Department, Peru and San Pedro Bolpebra, Pando department, Bolivia, and limited by the Acre and Yaverija River. Man landing collections were measured both in the margins of these rivers near the location 10o56’42.04″S and 69o34’19.81″O. The midges were slide mounted and identified by entomological keys2,8.

A total of 62 females were caught and only L. brasiliensis (Lutz) were found in September 2008 and August 2009, during the dry period. They presented with eyes widely separated; lacking a frontal suture; palpus with four segments with a third palpal segment sub-equal to the fourth, which bears a pale basal ring (Figure 1A); apical flagellomere about four times longer than broad, with conical shape (Figure 1A); longitudinal veins abutting the margin of the wing which is whitish hyaline without macrotrichia; crossvein r-m absent and radial cells fused into swollen stigma (Figure 1B); costal ratio near 0.5. The foreleg has a moderately strong spine, with strong ventral spines on tarsomere 1 of the foreleg and at apices of the distal tarsomeres (Figure 1C). The abdomen presents two spermatecae and very elongated cerci (Figure 1D).



According to Borkent & Spinelli9, in Brazil there are two species: L. (HoloconopsknowtoniClastrier & Wirth registered to State of Santa Catarina and L. (Leptoconopsbrasiliensis registered to the State of Amazonas. Studies about biting midges in Brazil are still very scarce and probably must be found in other States of the Amazon region. Trindade & Gorayeb10 made a correction of the distribution of L. brasiliensis, due to the type locality (Lower Tocantins River) of L. brasiliensiswhich is not in the State of Amazonas but in the State of Pará; also they collected this species in the coast of Pará. This species also occur in Argentina and Uruguay. The occurrence of this species is probably widespread in South America and the medical importance of L. brasiliensis in Brazil, besides the effects of the bites, is still unknown and should be studied further.



The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.



1. Borkent A, Wirth A. World species of biting midges (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Bull Am Mus Nat History 1997; 233:257.         [ Links ]

2. Borkent A, Spinelli GR. Neotropical Ceratopogonidae (Diptera: Insecta). In: Adis J, Arias JR, Rueda-Delgado G, Wantzen KM, editors. Aquatic biodiversity in Latin America. Pensoft: Sofia-Moscow; 2007. p. 101-147.         [ Links ]

3. Whitsel RH, Schoeppner RF. Summary of a study of the biology and control of the valley black gnat, Leptoconops torrens Townsend (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Calif Vector Views 1966; 13:17-25.         [ Links ]

4. Steffen, C. Clinical and histopathologic correlation of midge bites. Arc Dermatol 1981; 117:785-787.         [ Links ]

5. Aussel JP. Ecology of the biting midge Leptoconops albiventris in French Polynesia. I. Biting cycle and influence of climatic factors. Med Vet Entomol 1993; 7:73-79.         [ Links ]

6. Strickman D, Wirtz R, Lawyer P, Glick J, Stockwell S, Perich A. Meterological effects on the biting activity of Leptoconops americanus (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). J Am Mosq Control Assoc 1995; 1:15-20.         [ Links ]

7. Lowrie Jr RC, Raccurt CP, Eberhard ML, Katz SP. Assessment of Leptoconops bequaerti as a potential vector of Mansonella ozzardi in Haiti. Am J Trop Med Hyg 1983; 32:1013-1015.         [ Links ]

8. Spinelli GR, Ronderos MM, Díaz F, Marino PI. The bloodsucking biting midges of Argentina (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 2005; 100:137-150.         [ Links ]

9. Borkent A, Spinelli GR. Catalogue of the New World Biting Midges South of the United States of America (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae). Contrib Entomol Internat 2000; 4:1-107.         [ Links ]

10. Trindade RL, Gorayeb IS. Maruins (Ceratopogonidae: Diptera) do estuário do Rio Pará e do litoral do Estado do Pará, Brasil. Ent y Vect 2005; 12:61-74.         [ Links ]



 Address to:
Dr. Felipe Arley Costa Pessoa
Biodiversidade em Saúde/Instituto Leônidas & Maria Deane/FIOCRUZ-AM
Rua Teresina 476 – Adrianópolis
69057-070 Manaus, AM, Brasil
Phone: 55 92 3621-2335
e-mail: facpessoa@amazonia.fiocruz.br

Received in 25/03/2010
Accepted in 08/09/2011