Trivia question for Sep-02-2011

Posted on Sep 2, 2011 in Trivia

Olivia is studying about Africa and came across these pesky insects.  They are notorious carriers of diseases – especially sleeping sickness.  This disease is invariably fatal unless treated but can almost always be cured with current medicines, if the disease is diagnosed early enough.

Diseases transmitted by these insects kill 250,000–300,000 people per year.  Males and females both feed on blood, unlike mosquitoes where only the females do. The reduction of the number of these insects has generally been attempted with two different aims, either total eradication from the area, or control to just reduce the numbers. Eradication has often been imagined, has repeatedly been attempted, and is still proposed—but many reasons suggest that control is a safer, cheaper, more realistic, and sustainable approach. Eradication refers to the successful killing of every one of these insects, either in a region or, under more grandiose proposals, from the entire African continent. Local eradication efforts have repeatedly been undertaken and have achieved temporary success, only to fail in the long term because they re-invaded

So here are Olivia’s questions:  Tell us what these deadly insects are and tell us how they find their prey?  Also, tell us what trick scientists use to attract theses guys in order to destroy them?

Good Luck 😉


Wow, two times in a row Olivia was able to find something that stumped everyone.  Thanks for all the guesses everyone.  The flies we featured are the Tsetse Flies.  Tsetse, sometimes spelled tzetze and also known as tik-tik flies, are large biting flies that inhabit much of mid-continental Africa between the Sahara and the Kalahari deserts.  They live by feeding on the blood of vertebrate animals and are the primary biological vectors of trypanosomes, which cause human sleeping sickness and animal trypanosomiasis, also known as nagana.

Even with their limited vision, tsetse flies find their prey be sight; scientists set up fake cutouts of cattle to attract the flies in order to destroy them.

The word ‘tsetse’ comes from Tswana, a language of southern Africa, and, in that language, the word means fly. Recently ‘tsetse’ without the ‘fly’ has become more common in English, particularly in the scientific and development communities.  The pronunciation of the word differs in different regions. Many African languages have an ejective ts sound and so a common pronunciation of the word involves two identical syllables both having this ts sound and a shorter sound of the vowel, as ts-eh-ts-eh. The British pronunciation of the word uses two different sounds for the two different syllables, generally tee-tsee. In Zimbabwe, it is generally pronounced tseh-tsee.  Here is more on these scary flies: Tsetse Flies

Thanks for playing along 😉