Date of Degree

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Program

Biology

Advisor

Russell Raymond

Advisor

Ana Vallor

Abstract

Leishmaniasis is caused by infection with protozoan parasites within the genus Leismania transmitted by the bites of female sand flies within the genus Lutzomyia in the New World. This study investigated the seasonal abundance of sand flies and evaluated the correlation of temperature with abundance data. Sand flies were collected at the Garrison ranch near Poth, Texas (28° 57’ 10” N; 98° 7’ 28” W) from May in 2014 through October, 2015. Recorded highest abundance of sand flies in 2014 was in October, 2 females Lu.anthophora and 5 males Lu.anthophora were captured producing 0.58 sand flies /trap night, while, mean ambient air temperature was 23.35°C, and mean temperature of the woodrat nest was 23.57°C. In 2015,

recorded highest abundance of sand flies was in July, 7 female and 4 males Lu. anthophora were captured, producing 0.91 sand flies /trap night. While mean ambient air temperature was 29.17°C, and mean temperature of the woodrat nest was 27.74°C. during the given data of 18 months, strongest positive correlation with ambient air temperature and woodrat nest temperature and sand fly abundance. Increased sand fly abundance was associated with an increase in ambient air temperature and woodrat nest temperature. In Texas small changes in temperature can expand the geographical area in which the Leishmania is able to replicate, allowing increase in endemic areas.

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