Critter Science

The Science of Animals

tsetse fly

The Deadly Tsetse Fly

There are 23 known species of tsetse flies that can be found in the mid-continental Africa. The tsetse fly can be found in open woodlands. They have been around, unchanged, for about 34 million years. Tsetse flies transmit parasites that induce a fatal disease in humans and animals. People have been waging a war on these pests with pesticides, via sterilization of males, and by clearing and burning the brush where females lay their eggs.

First the Stats…

Scientific name: Glossina
Length: 0.6 inch
Lifespan: Up to 90 days

Now on to the Facts!

1.) Even their larvae are deadly! Tsetse fly larva can excrete a very powerful toxin through pores in its skin. A single drop of this toxin is strong enough to kill an adult human!

2.) Symptoms of a tsetse fly bite are: extreme fatigue, coma, swollen lymph node glands, headache, fever, emaciation, and if left untreated – death! The disease kills 250,000 – 300,000 people annually. The parasite that causes this is called trypanosoma and causes trypanosomiasis.

3.) Tsetse flies are also known as ‘tik-tik’ flies.

4.) Being diurnal (active during the day), they are most active during the hottest part of the day.

5.) These flies are multivoltines (they produce several broods annually). The females mate only once, but they produce up to 4 generations in their lifespan.

But wait, there’s more on the testse fly!

6.) Eggs hatch inside the female’s body, one at a time. The larvae feeds on a nutritional, milky fluid that is secreted from the uterine wall.

7.) They feed on the blood of humans and animals. Their mouth apparatus is known as a proboscis and is shaped like a blade.

Did you know…?
These annoying and deadly creatures can drink up to 3x their body weight in blood, in just one feeding.

8.) Male flies go after humans, while females prefer animals.

Now a Short Tsetse Fly Video!

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Critter Man

With over 40 years of critter experience to my credit and hundreds of zoology teaching hours to people around the world, I have amassed not only a continuing thirst for critter knowledge but a desire to teach others all I can about the majesty and wonder of our natural world. Critter Science is a culmination of such knowledge.I have hands on as well as book acquired intel on all kinds of critters. Whether they're on land, sea, or air.I will never say that I know everything about all animals. That's impossible, even for a savant. But, that being said, ask me any animal question and I'll answer it. If I don't know the answer, I'll get an answer for you!Let it be said that I have been oft times accused of loving animals more than I love people. I can neither confirm nor deny this.

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