Five (Sergentomyia antennatus, S. garnhami, S. schwetzi, S. ingrami and S. adleri) of the six species of sandflies fed on mammalian blood containing cultured Leishmania donovani promastigotes on day 0, were able to feed through cockerel skin membranes at 5.5, 10, 34.3, 45.7 and 95% feeding rates, respectively. Sergentomyia bedfordi was able to feed on mammalian blood only through a lizard skin membrane at 100% feeding rate. Promastigotes were found in 9.3, 25 and 37.5% of S. schwetzi, S. adleri and S. ingrami respectively, dissected on days 3–9.
The results open way for artificial feeding of Kenyan sandflies on mammalian blood through membranes, and indicate that it is necessary to select the type of membrane depending on sandfly species. The ability of L. donovani to develop in Kenyan sandflies is being investigated to experimentally establish and confirm the importance of various genera and species in the epidemiology of leishmaniasis.