The breeding habitat of sandflies is a little studied and poorly understood phenomenon. More importantly, oviposition behaviour is a largely neglected aspect of sandfly biology and this knowledge gap further undermines our understanding of the biology of sandflies. Pheromones released by the eggs play an important role in identifying good sites for oviposition by female insects. Several recent studies have examined the oviposition pheromone. The present study provides a preliminary report on the oviposition behaviour of Phlebotomus argentipes
, the only vector of kala-azar (or visceral leishmaniasis) on the Indian sub-continent. Sandflies prefer to oviposit their eggs on surfaces that contain organic substances, especially substances with an odour of decaying animal products and the remains of conspecific eggs. The results presented here suggest that the odour released by the organic substances of old sandfly colony remains that contain dead flies, old unhatched eggs, larval food containing vertebrate faeces, frass and other organic matter serves as an attractant for the ovipositing females of P. argentipes
and hence greatly increases the number of oviposited eggs compared to eggs deposited in controlled oviposition pots. This result will be helpful in maintaining an efficient colony of P. argentipes
and may be a promising tool for monitoring and controlling the target insect as part of a synergistic approach.