Glossina (genus)

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Glossina palpalis (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Amedeo John Engel Terzi
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Glossina Wiedemann, 1830 - (tsetse flies)

This is the only genus of the family Glossinidae. It contains about 30 species and several of these are important vectors of trypanosome diseases of humans (sleeping sickness) and livestock (nagana) in Africa.

The species can be divided into "forest", "riverine" and "savannah" groups, after the habitat they occupy. The last two groups are most important as disease vectors. The "savannah" species transmit mainly nagana. The "riverine" species are found in woodland near water bodies and are vectors of both nagana and sleeping sickness. For control, either pyrethroid-treated cattle or insecticide-treated screens (targets) are used, that simulate hosts.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Tsetsefliegen
• English: tsetse flies
• Español: moscas tse-tse
• Français: mouches tsé-tsé

Females do not lay eggs. An egg hatches inside the abdomen of the female and develops, one at a time, by feeding on the excreta of a "milk gland". During its development, a larva goes through 3 instars, eventually reaching more than half of the total weight of the female. The female deposits the mature larva on sandy or soft ground, shortly before it pupates. The larva then burrows a few centimetres into the ground and constructs a hard, waterproof pupal case from which the young adult fly emerges a few weeks later.

The adult is around 10 mm long with a greyish brown colour. At rest, the wings are folded on top of each other. The middle cell of the wings has the shape of a hatchet. The long proboscis is directed forward and the arista bears branched hairs.

For details see the respective page in Wikipedia.


The literature database currently contains 371 publications for the genus Glossina. See the box above on the left for queries from the literature database. The database includes articles on the different species listed below as well as general articles for this genus. However, please note that the lists may require update and may be incomplete.

Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: