Sand Fly

Sand Fly, common name applied to a minute, biting fly. Sand flies are important as vectors of numerous human diseases, including kala-azar or dumdum fever, oriental sore, and sand-fly fever. These flies are chiefly native to the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. They are somewhat smaller than 0.42 cm (0.16 in) in length. Female sand flies have piercing mouthparts and subsist on mammalian blood, biting mostly at night. They breed in dark, damp, mossy ground or in crevices in shady rock walls. Six species are found in the United States, none of which is known to carry disease. The best-known species of sand fly transmits the virus of a febrile disease known as sand-fly fever, phlebotomus fever, or pappataci fever. Similar in symptoms to dengue, but almost never fatal, sand-fly fever disables its victims for one to nine days. Sand-fly fever occurs chiefly in Asia Minor, southern Asia, northern Africa, and southern Europe. Having once ingested blood contaminated with the virus of sand-fly fever, the sand fly carries the virus for the rest of its life; it is believed that the female sand fly passes the virus on to its young.

Scientific classification: Sand flies belong to the family Psychodidae, of the order Diptera. They are classified in the genera Culicoides and Phlebotomus. The species that transmits sand-fly fever is classified as Phlebotomus papatasii.

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