Wing length of tsetse caught by stationary and mobile sampling methods

Cornelius Mweempwa, Njelembo J. Mbewe, Reginald De Deken

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    Introduction: A variety of techniques have been used to control tsetse with varying degrees of success. In a study on the population structure of Glossina fuscipes fuscipes that recovered after a previous vector control trial on two Kenyan islands, it was reported that the average fly size on the intervention islands was significantly smaller than on the none intervention islands and also compared to the size before the intervention. The conclusion was that vector control using tiny targets exerted size selection pressure on the population. The study recommended for further studies and suggested that this phenomenon could be among the reasons why targets used as a sole control method have rare reports of successful elimination of tsetse populations. Therefore, in this paper we report on a study of body size of tsetse flies caught in epsilon traps (as a stationary device) and black screen fly rounds (as a mobile trapping device).

    Materials and methods: The study was carried out in eastern Zambia to test the hypothesis that the body size (measured as wing length) of G. m. morsitans males or females, captured by epsilon traps and fly rounds is the same.

    Results: A total of 1442 (489 females and 953 males) wing length measurements of G. m. morsitans were used in the analysis. It was established that tsetse flies caught by epsilon traps are on average larger than those caught by fly rounds. The likelihood of a large female or male fly being caught by traps, relative to a small one, significantly increased by 5.088 times (95% CI: 3.138-8.429) and by 2.563 times (95% CI: 1.584-4.148), respectively, p <0.0001, compared with being caught by fly rounds. The hypothesis was rejected.

    Conclusion: This study showed that epsilon traps capture significantly larger G. m. morsitans than fly rounds do. Therefore, further research is recommended to verify i) whether the predilection of traps to capture larger flies has an effect on the process of tsetse elimination when targets are used e.g. targets may take longer to reach elimination than if the predilection was not there, ii) whether different results can be obtained on ecogeographic distribution of different sizes of the species if fly rounds are used for sampling instead of epsilon traps. The results from such studies could influence the strategies used in future control operations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number105333
    JournalActa Tropica
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • Trypanosomiasis
    • Glossina morsitans
    • Tsetse wing length
    • Epsilon traps
    • Man-black screen fly round
    • Tsetse control strategy
    • FIELD
    • SIZE

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