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Big Baby, Little Mother: Tsetse Flies Are Exceptions to the Juvenile Small Size Principle

Haines, Lee ORCID:, Vale, Glyn A., Barreaux, Antoine M. G., Ellstrand, Norman C., Hargrove, John W. and English, Sinead (2020) 'Big Baby, Little Mother: Tsetse Flies Are Exceptions to the Juvenile Small Size Principle'. BioEssays, Vol 42, Issue 11, e2000049.

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While across the animal kingdom offspring are born smaller than their parents, notable exceptions exist. Several dipteran species belonging to the Hippoboscoidea superfamily can produce offspring larger than themselves. In this essay, the blood‐feeding tsetse is focused on. It is suggested that the extreme reproductive strategy of this fly is enabled by feeding solely on highly nutritious blood, and producing larval offspring that are soft and malleable. This immense reproductive expenditure may have evolved to avoid competition with other biting flies. Tsetse also transmit blood‐borne parasites that cause the fatal diseases called African trypanosomiases. It is discussed how tsetse life history and reproductive strategy profoundly influence the type of vector control interventions used to reduce fly populations. In closing, it is argued that the unusual life history of tsetse warrants their preservation in the areas where human and animal health is not threatened.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: QX Parasitology > QX 4 General works
QX Parasitology > QX 45 Host-parasite relations
QX Parasitology > Insects. Other Parasites > QX 505 Diptera
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 705 Trypanosomiasis
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Vector Biology Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Samantha Sheldrake
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2020 09:45
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2020 11:23


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