AskDefine | Define sandfly

Dictionary Definition

sandfly n : any of various small dipterous flies; blood-sucking females can transmit sandfly fever and leishmaniasis [syn: sand fly, Phlebotomus papatasii]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


sandfly (plural sandflies)
  1. Any of various small flies of the genera Lutzomyia and Phlebotomus whose females suck the blood of vertebrates and thus spread leishmaniasis.


Extensive Definition

Sandfly is a colloquial name for any species or genus of flying, biting, blood-sucking Dipteran encountered in sandy areas. In the United States, sand fly may refer to certain horse flies that are also known as "greenheads" (family Tabanidae), or to members of the family Ceratopogonidae, also known in Florida and elsewhere as a sandflea, no-see-um, no-see-em, noseeum, sand gnats, chitras, punkie, or punky. In practice, nearly any fly found on a beach could be called a "sand fly". Some of these insects are a type of midge, which do not bite.
The sandfly is attracted to human flesh, and sandfly is used to refer to members of the subfamily Phlebotominae within the Psychodidae, including the primary vectors of leishmaniasis and sandfly fever. In the New World, leishmaniasis is spread by sand flies of the genus Lutzomyia. In the Old World, the disease is spread by sandflies of the genus Phlebotomus.

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