Faculté des sciences

Water vapour and heat combine to elicit biting and biting persistence in tsetse

Chappuis, Charles JF ; Béguin, Steve ; Vlimant, Michèle ; Guerin, Patrick M

In: Parasites and Vectors, 2013, vol. 6, no. 240, p. 1-11

Tsetse flies are obligatory blood feeders, accessing capillaries by piercing the skin of their hosts with the haustellum to suck blood. However, this behaviour presents a considerable risk as landing flies are exposed to predators as well as the host’s own defense reactions such as tail flicking. Achieving a successful blood meal within the shortest time span is therefore at a premium in... More

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    Summary
    Tsetse flies are obligatory blood feeders, accessing capillaries by piercing the skin of their hosts with the haustellum to suck blood. However, this behaviour presents a considerable risk as landing flies are exposed to predators as well as the host’s own defense reactions such as tail flicking. Achieving a successful blood meal within the shortest time span is therefore at a premium in tsetse, so feeding until replete normally lasts less than a minute. Biting in blood sucking insects is a multi-sensory response involving a range of physical and chemical stimuli. Here we investigated the role of heat and humidity emitted from host skin on the biting responses of Glossina pallidipes, which to our knowledge has not been fully studied in tsetse before.