Taxonomy 304 Morphology 304 Life History 306 Behavior And Ecology 308 Public Health Importance 309 Veterinary Importance 312 Prevention And Control 314 References And Further Reading 315

Tsetse flies (Fig. 15.1) are obligate blood-sucking flies of medical and veterinary importance because they transmit trypanosomes that cause African sleeping sickness in humans and cause nagana in livestock. Fossil tsetse flies in the Florissant shale of Colorado in the western United States indicate that this family was present in the Western Hemisphere as recently as 26 million years ago. Tsetse flies now occur in the tropical and subtropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa (ca. 15° N to 26° S). Recently, isolated populations of two species of tsetse flies were observed in southwestern Saudi Arabia (Elsen etal., 1990).

Tsetse (pronounced tse-tsee) commonly is used as both a singular and plural term to denote one or more individuals or species of these flies. Although the origin of the name is obscure, it was used as early as the 19th century by the Tswana people living along the edge of the Kalahari Desert. "Tsense," the Mozambique word for "fly," as well as other similar sounding African names meaning "fly," are apparently onomatopoetic terms derived from imitations of the unique buzzing sound made by the adult flies (Austen, 1903).

Tsetse generally are considered one of the greatest factors affecting the course of economic and social development in Africa. The morbidity and mortality caused by African sleeping sickness continues to be significant. Nagana, which has stifled agricultural productivity for decades, still stands as a major deterrent to the development of animal agriculture on that continent.

There is an extensive literature on tsetse, but a few monographic works provide particularly useful introductions to the field. The classic work by Buxton (1955) reviews the natural history of tsetse and provides a detailed historical account of the diseases associated with it. Mulligan (1970) includes an historical perspective in addition to an overview of the biology of tsetse and its parasites, pathology of these parasites in humans and domestic animals, treatment, and control. The historical, social, and economic effects of tsetse in five different African regions are extensively reviewed by Ford (1971), and the impact of tsetse on African rural development is discussed by lordan (1986). A comprehensive monograph was written by Leak (1999).

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