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An Introduction to Medical Entomology

For educational purposes. 

 

Hexapoda:  Insecta:  Diptera

MUSCIDAE, FANNIIDAE & GLOSSINIDAE

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[Key to Muscidae Genera]

 

     The house flies, face flies, horn flies, stable flies, tsetse flies and little house flies are all serious pests of humans and animals.  Adults of the family may be identified by fleshy lobes, called squamae, located underneath the halteres on the sides of the thorax.  Many species are also identified by chaetotaxy (arrangement of hairs on the body).  Identification of some Diptera larvae is by the Cephalopharyngeal Skeleton and patterns of their spiracular plates (See:  Posterior Spiracular Plates).

 

          The importance of this family as serious pests and vectors of diseases has led to several biological control projects to contain them (see bc-37.htm).

 

          Muscidae.-- The housefly, Musca domestica L., lays its eggs in decaying vegetable matter or animal excrement.  .  The legless larvae are maggots with mouth hooks, caudal and thoracic spiracles.  Their filthy habits of regurgitating saliva and food cause them to be vectors of typhoid, cholera, and dysentery. etc.  Either feces or regurgitations cause the flyspecks often found on surfaces.  Houseflies have been the target of biological control in California and elsewhere (see ch-50.htm)

 

 

          The stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans (L.) can breed in vegetable matter.  The adult's mouthparts are of the biting type, and the adults resemble houseflies, but are grayer in color.

 

 

          The hornfly, Haematobia irritans (L.) is also similar to the housefly but much smaller.  It is a pest of cattle primarily and breeds in cattle dung.

 

 

          Glossinidae.-- Tsetse flies, Glossina spp., are confined to the African Continent and Arabia where they are vectors of trypanosomes that cause Sleeping Sickness and related diseases of humans and animals.  They are distinguished by having their proboscis held straight forward and by having a a forewing cell in the shape of a cleaver.  These large, noisy flies may cause severe bites on humans with resultant swellings.  In East Africa they are especially prevalent around streams.

 

 

          Fanniidae.-- Little house flies. Fannia spp., breed in large numbers in animal dung, and are especially numerous around poultry farms where they breed in such high numbers as to invade surrounding areas causing annoyance to residents.  They appear as small houseflies hovering in huge masses.  Their larvae are distinctively flattened with many protuberances on the periphery. They have been the target of biological control in California and elsewhere (see ch-50.htm)

 

 

 

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  Key References:     <medvet.ref.htm>    <Hexapoda>    [Additional references may be found at: MELVYL Library]

 

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