A team of scientists have identified a species of bloodsucking flies that also have a taste for cannabis. The researchers, led by professor Alon Warburg from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, published their findings this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The scientists were studying sand flies, which can transmit diseases including leishmaniasis, a serious and disfiguring disease caused by a parasite in the blood. The authors of the report wrote that sand flies pick up and pass along the parasite that causes the disease while sucking the blood of larger animals to nourish their next brood of young.
“Sand fly females become infected with Leishmania parasites and transmit them while imbibing vertebrates’ blood, required as a source of protein for maturation of eggs,” they wrote.
The sand flies also suck the sap of plants and by studying which plants the insects are eating, the scientists can learn more about the spread of the parasites.
“In addition, both sand fly sexes consume plant-derived sugar meals. Therefore, the structure of plant communities can influence the transmission dynamics of sand fly-borne diseases,” the researchers explained.
To learn more about the sand flies diet, the scientists trapped samples in five locations from