is the most important vector of visceral leishmaniasis in Brazil. When female sandflies feed on blood, a peritrophic matrix (PM) is formed around the blood bolus. The PM is secreted by midgut cells and composed of proteins, glycoproteins and chitin microfibrils. The PM functions as both a physical barrier against pathogens present in the food bolus and blood meal digestion regulator. Previous studies of mosquitoes and sandflies have shown that the absence of a PM, resulting from adding an exogenous chitinase to the blood meal, accelerates digestion. In the present study, we analysed biological factors associated with the presence of a PM in L. longipalpis
females. Insects fed blood containing chitinase (BCC) accelerated egg-laying relative to a control group fed blood without chitinase. However, in the BCC-fed insects, the number of females that died without laying eggs was higher and the number of eggs laid per female was lower. The eggs in both groups were viable and generated adults. Based on these data, we suggest that the absence of a PM accelerates nutrient acquisition, which results in premature egg production and oviposition; however, the absence of a PM reduces the total number of eggs laid per female. Reduced fecundity in the absence of a PM may be due to inefficient nutrient conversion or the loss of the protective role of the PM.