Within the sand fly genus Lutzomyia, the Verrucarum species group contains several of the principal vectors of American cutaneous leishmaniasis and human bartonellosis in the Andean region of South America. The group encompasses 40 species for which the taxonomic status, phylogenetic relationships, and role of each species in disease transmission remain unresolved. Mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) phylogenetic analysis of a 667-bp fragment supported the morphological classification of the Verrucarum group into series. Genetic sequences from seven species were grouped in well-supported monophyletic lineages. Four species, however, clustered in two paraphyletic lineages that indicate conspecificity - the Lutzomyia longiflocosa-Lutzomyia sauroida pair and the Lutzomyia quasitownsendi - Lutzomyia torvida pair. COI sequences were also evaluated as a taxonomic tool based on interspecific genetic variability within the Verrucarum group and the intraspecific variability of one of its members, Lutzomyia verrucarum, across its known distribution. Copyright © 2011 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.