The word ‘tsetse’ comes from a Tswana (One of the languages in Southern Africa) word that means ‘fly.’ Tsetse flies exist in large numbers in this region of African Continent. The tsetse fly is an insect which belongs to the housefly family. There are 23 known species of tsetse flies which exists in the mid-continental Africa.
They usually inhabit open woodlands. They exist on Earth at least 34 million years in the same form. Tsetse flies often transmit parasites which induce fatal diseases in both animals and humans.
People always fight against these insects using pesticides, through sterilization of male flies and just clearing and burning the woodlands where they lay their eggs.
Tsetse flies populations can be monitored and efficiently controlled using simple, cheap traps. These usually use electric blue cloth, since electric blue color attracts the flies.
The traps can kill these flies by channeling them into a collection chamber or by exposing the flies to the insecticide sprayed on the cloth. Also, their populations can be controlled by using pesticides.
Here are ten interesting and shocking Tsetse fly Facts:
- Tsetse fly larva usually excretes a very powerful toxin through pores on its skin. A single drop is so powerful to kill even a human!
- Tsetse flies are also known as ‘tik-tik’ flies
- Tsetse flies are multivoltine, which means they produce several broods annually. They produce approximately four generation per year and almost 31 generations over their entire lifespan!
- A headache, swollen lymph glands, fever, and emaciation of the body are the most typical symptoms of sleeping sickness (humans). The disease often kills 250,000-300,000 persons yearly.
- Tsetse flies are diurnal animals. They are active during the hottest part of a day.
- Adult tsetse flies can survive from 1- 3 months.
- The tsetse fly is dark brown or yellowish brown in color with dark markings on the thorax (chest).
- Male tsetse flies often attack humans while female flies prefer huge animals.
- Tsetse fly can reach 0.2-0.6 inches in length.
- Tsetse fly feeds on the blood of different animals. Mouth apparatus known as proboscis is shaped like a blade. Its role is to penetrate the skin of humans and animals and facilitate blood sucking.