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      Host preferences of tsetse (Diptera: Glossinidae) based on bloodmeal identifications.

      Medical and Veterinary Entomology

      Animals, Blood, Cattle, Digestive System, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Feeding Behavior, Food Preferences, Host-Parasite Interactions, Mammals, Tsetse Flies

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          An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was developed to identify the origin of vertebrate blood in the guts of 29 245 wild-caught flies of eleven Glossina species from various ecological zones of Africa. Depending on the quality of the bloodmeal samples, 62.8% of the samples were identified and could be assigned to a host-group (e.g. ruminant), family (e.g. Bovidae) or species (e.g. Bos spp.). A total of 13 145 samples (44.9%) was identifiable up to the species level. With a few exceptions, the present results are in agreement with earlier published reports. Glossina austeni and G. fuscipleuris seemed to have a distinct feeding preference for Suidae (mainly bushpig). Glossina morsitans ssp. fed mainly on Suidae (mainly warthog), although local variations were observed and in some areas hippopotamus or ruminants replaced the warthog as the main host. Bushbuck seemed to be the principal food source for G. longipalpis and G. fusca. Glossina pallidipes fed mainly on ruminants (buffalo, bushbuck and cattle) but, depending on host availability and location, Suidae were also important hosts. Hippopotamus was identified as the main source of bloodmeals for G. brevipalpis. The main hosts for G. longipennis were Suidae (mainly bushpig) and not rhinoceros as had been reported 40 years earlier. The opportunistic feeding behaviour of the palpalis tsetse group was confirmed. The results showed that changes in environment, fauna and host availability may result in modification of tsetse feeding patterns.

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