Tsetse fly Facts

Tsetse fly Facts
Tsetse fly is an insect that belongs to the housefly family. There are 23 species of tsetse flies that can be found in the mid-continental Africa. Tsetse flies inhabit open woodlands. They exist on the planet at least 34 million years in the unchanged form. Tsetse flies transmit parasites that induce fatal diseases in both humans and animals. People fight against these insects via pesticides, through sterilization of male flies and by clearing and burning the woodlands where they lay eggs.
Interesting Tsetse fly Facts:
Tsetse fly can reach 0.2 to 0.6 inches in length.
Tsetse fly is yellowish brown or dark brown in color with dark markings on the thorax (chest).
Tsetse fly looks like large house fly. Its body is covered with sparse, bristle-like hairs. Unlike house fly, tsetse fly folds its wings completely (one wing tucked below other wing) when it is resting.
Body of tsetse fly consists of three parts: head, thorax and abdomen. Tsetse fly has large head and large, widely separated eyes, three pairs of legs and a pair of wings. It also has a pair of modified wings called halteres which provide balance during the flight.
Tsetse flies have a pair of antennas on top of the head. Each antenna is equipped with bristle-like appendage called arista covered with long, branched hairs.
Tsetse flies are active during the hottest part of a day (diurnal animals).
Tsetse flies feed on the blood of various animals. Mouth apparatus, called proboscis is shaped like a blade. It is used to penetrate the skin and facilitate sucking of blood.
Two species of tsetse fly can transmit parasites that induce sleeping sickness in humans and nagana (similar type of disease) in domestic animals.
Swollen lymph glands, headache, fever and emaciation of the body are typical symptoms of the sleeping sickness. This disease kills 250.000 to 300.000 people each year.
Male tsetse flies usually attack humans, while female flies prefer large animals.
Female tsetse fly mates only once in a lifetime, but she is able to produce offspring every 10 days. Eggs hatch inside the female's body, one at a time. Larva feeds on nutritional, milky fluid that is secreted from the uterine wall. When female ingests large quantities of blood, larva develops quickly. When food sources are scarce, larva is small, poorly developed and unviable.
Fully developed larva looks like a maggot and it continues to develop outside the female's body. Larva burrows into the soil and covers itself with hard, protective shell. This developmental stage is known as pupa. Couple of weeks later, adult insect emerges from the cocoon.
Tsetse flies produce 4 generation of flies per year and 31 generations in the lifetime.
Larva of tsetse fly releases toxin that is strong enough to kill man.
Adult tsetse flies can survive from one to three months.

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