Abstract A study of Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz and Neiva, 1912) (Diptera: Psychodidae), the primary vector of American visceral leishmaniasis (AVL), and the canine form of the disease, was carried out in Porteirinha. The city is situated in the northern part of the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais and is an endemic area of AVL. Systematic phlebotomine captures were performed in seven districts with previously reported cases of canine visceral leishmaniasis, during 2 years (January 2000–December 2001). A total of 2328 specimens of L. longipalpis were captured. The association between the local climate variables and the population density of L. longipalpis was evaluated and rainfall was determined to be a major factor, with increased populations during the rainy season (October–March). At the same time period, blood samples from every dog domiciled in the same seven districts, in total 14,077 animals, were analyzed for infection by viscerotropic Leishmania using indirect immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Accumulated incidence rates of canine VL per district varied from 3.40 to 14.34 for the 2-year period. A positive correlation between the population density of L. longipalpis and the canine cases of visceral leishmaniasis in Porteirinha was observed.