PMID: 7501367Dec 1, 1994

Understanding tsetse flies

The Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research
P A Langley


The discovery that tsetse flies are the vectors of African trypanosomosis, causing sleeping sickness in man and nagana in cattle, occurred at the start of a rapidly expanding colonialism in sub-Saharan Africa. Hence, the first research on the fly was largely taxonomic, coupled with a painstaking ecological approach to determine the identities and distribution limits of the different species. This was followed by closer attention to the physiology of the fly, both from the academic standpoint as related to its survival and reproduction in the field, and from the standpoint of its vectorial capacity. There are still conflicting hypotheses concerning the maturation of trypanosomes within the fly. Increasing concern for the environment led to a ban in the developed nations on the use of DDT as an insecticide which had been used successfully for tsetse control in Africa. This was followed by a ban on the use of organochlorine insecticides in general, and no doubt the next restrictions will be on the use of organophosphates and upon synthetic pyrethroids which have already been banned in the UK for the control of houseflies. Fortunately, research on the role of olfactory and visual stimuli of the tsetse, in the location of potential ...Continue Reading


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African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, is an insect-borne parasitic disease of humans and other animals. It is caused by protozoa of the species Trypanosoma brucei and almost invariably progresses to death unless treated. Discover the latest research on African trypanosomiasis here.