Bulletin of Entomological Research

Original Articles

Diel activity patterns and host preferences of Glossina fuscipes fuscipes (Diptera:Glossinidae) along the shores of Lake Victoria, Kenya

M.M. Mohamed-Ahmeda1 and A. Odulajaa1

a1 International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), PO Box 30772, Nairobi, Kenya


Diurnal activity patterns and host preference of Glossina fuscipes fuscipes Newstead were studied in forest and linear habitats along Lake Victoria shore, Kenya. The objective was to identify the preferred hosts of G. f. fuscipes, the emanations of which may be attractive to this species. Hourly catches of flies in biconical traps were related to changes in the weather and the prevalence of hosts in the vicinity of traps. Flies were mainly active between 0800 and 1600 h, with males peaking around 1100 h and females around 1300 h. Activity of flies correlated directly with light intensity and temperature, but indirectly with relative humidity. Humans, livestock and the monitor lizard, Varanus niloticus, were the predominant hosts, although a significant positive correlation with fly catches could only be established with the prevalence of lizards. Blood meal identification by microscopic and serological methods showed that 73—98% of G. f. fuscipes fed on monitor lizards irrespective of host prevalence, season or location. The significance and possible epidemiological importance of the relationship between G. f. fuscipes and monitor lizards are discussed.

(Accepted July 29 1996)