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Photos: Portraits of the Blood-Sucking Tsetse Fly

Tsetse Fly

tsetse fly female

(Image credit: Geoffrey M. Attardo, Research Scientist, Yale School of Public Heath)

A pregnant tsetse fly (Glossina morsitans morsitans).

Tsetse Fly

tsetse fly female face

(Image credit: Geoffrey M. Attardo, Research Scientist, Yale School of Public Heath)

Tsetse flies (Glossina morsitans morsitans) are the sole disease vector for African sleeping sickness, a protozoan infection that is fatal without treatment.

Pregnant Fly

pregnant tsetse fly

(Image credit: Geoffrey M. Attardo, Research Scientist, Yale School of Public Heath)

Tsetse fly females give birth to live young, one at a time. Before birth, the young are nourished with milk-like secretions from lactation glands.

Tsetse Biology

tsetse fly biology diagram

(Image credit: Geoffrey M. Attardo, Research Scientist, Yale School of Public Heath)

A diagram showing the biology of the tsetse fly, including the trypanosome parasites it spreads and the beneficial bacteria that keep it alive.

Tsetse Profile

tsetse fly female

(Image credit: Geoffrey M. Attardo, Research Scientist, Yale School of Public Heath)

Tsetse flies feed soley on blood. Their bites transmit infectious protozoa, which can cross the blood-brain barrier in mammals and cause neurological disease and death.

Tsetse Fly Hands

tsetse fly female

(Image credit: Geoffrey M. Attardo, Research Scientist, Yale School of Public Heath)

The newly sequenced tsetse genome reveals possible weaknesses that researchers could use to control the insects.

Stephanie Pappas
Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science. She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics. Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii. Stephanie hails from East Tennessee, the global center for salamander diversity. Follow Stephanie on Google+.