Phlebotomus papatasi was the first sandfly to be described.
It was originally described:
The species name comes from the vernacular Italian ‘pappataci’, meaning a silent gorger.
Like many old species, its taxonomy has often been revised (Seccombe et al., 1993). This is important because it is the type species of Phlebotomus and, like many species in this genus, transmits protozoans and arboviruses causing human and mammalian diseases (Ready, 2008).
P. papatasi resembles a dainty, tawny version of the moth flies or owl flies (also in the family Psychodidae) that frequent damp bathrooms and outhouses in Europe. All hop out of the way if disturbed, but only the sandfly usually sucks blood and rests with its pair of wings half open, not fully open.
Phlebotomine sandflies are not usually found on tropical beaches, where small biting midges (ceratopogonid sandflies) can be a nuisance.
The history of sandflies dates back around 120 million years. Learn more about the evolution of Phlebotomus papatasi and the genus it belongs to.