||Nestedness patterns of sand fly (Diptera: Psychodidae) species in a neotropical semi-arid environment
Chaves, Luis FernandoAñez, Nestor
13 , 2016-01 , Elsevier B.V.
A common pattern in neotropical Leishmania spp. transmission is the co-occurrence of several sand fly (SF) species at endemic foci. We collected 13 SF spp. by direct aspiration in natural resting places (NRP) and 10 SF spp. with Shannon traps (ST), totaling 15 spp. with both methods, at 6 locations within a semi-arid region with endemic visceral leishmaniasis transmission in Falcón State, Northwestern Venezuela. We used null model testing of species co-occurrence and nestedness metrics estimated with our field data to ask whether SF species composition was segregated/aggregated, and if aggregated whether there was nestedness, i.e., whether species composition across sampling locations could be described by ordered subsets of species from the most species rich location in a landscape. Results showed that SF species were aggregated (P < 0.05), i.e., most species were present in species rich locations. Similarly, SF species were significantly nested (P < 0.05). Differences in pairwise Sørensen and Simpson indices, estimated with the ST data and the combined ST and NRP data, were positively associated with the distance between sampling locations, suggesting that species nestedness might be partially shaped by dispersal limitation. Our data showed that three species of medical importance were common across the sampling locations: Lutzomyia gomezi, Lutzomyia panamensis and Lutzomyia evansi, suporting that vector species do not turnover in the studied setting.