How many species of tsetse are there?
There are 29 species and subspecies of tsetse, divided into three groups
with contrasting ecological and behavioural characteristics.
- First, the Morsitans group of tsetse is found mainly in savannah
woodlands across sub-Saharan Africa. These species are highly mobile
and use a combination of visual and olfactory stimuli to locate their
hosts. The group includes the more important vectors of animal trypanosomiasis
such as G. pallidipes, G. morsitans subspp., G. longipennis
and G. austeni.
- Second, the Palpalis group comprises species found mainly in
riverine woodland of west and central Africa. Species from this group
are generally less mobile, being confined to their riverine habitats,
and use visual cues, rather than olfactory ones, to locate their hosts.
The group includes important vectors of human sleeping sickness such
as G. fuscipes and G. palpalis subspp.
- Third, the Fusca group comprises species typically found in
humid forests. Species from this group are generally considered to be
less important as a vector, largely because their natural habitat is
less used by livestock and people. Nonetheless, some species (eg, G.
brevipalpis) have been implicated as significant vectors of animal
Ask another question on tsetse
Ask another question?