11 Jan How to spot sandflies and biological facts
To spot sandflies on time is the best way to prevent getting bitten by them.
Sandflies, or sometimes called sand gnats or sand fleas, belong to the biological group of the Phlebotominae, which is a sub category of the family of the Psychodidae, the moths flies. There are more than 700 different known species of these parasites in subtropical and tropical climate and they all have one thing in common next to the fact that they are flying: they are biting and blood-sucking (hematophagy). Sandfly bites are often confused with mosquito bites – but this is a mistake. Mosquitoes are using their tube-like mouthparts (called a proboscis) to pierce the skin, whereas Sandflies are using the broad biting instruments of their mouths to scratch the skin. They tear the skin and produce tiny wounds, which they afterwards widen with their saw-like barbs and then drink and suck the appearing pool of liquid, which is a mixture of blood and lymph.
Only the female sandflies are dependant on blood as they need the protein in the blood to produce their eggs. The male sandflies are drinking the sap of flowers, trees and all kinds of plants and are harmless to human.
With their very small size between 1 and 2 mm they are hardly recognisable. The type mostly found in Asia with their most prominent characteristic of the 2 silvery wings positioned in a V on their back of grown sandflies. But their size might be so small that they are only seen as tiny flying black dots. The fact of their small sizes leads to the result that their landing on the body is usually not noticed.
They usually appear in swarms, which leads to the fact that tourists might experience having many bites very close to each other.