Seasonal changes in the distribution of the tsetse flies, Glossina pallidipes Austen and G. longipennis Corti, along a transect from riverine thickets out into open plains were monitored along with tsetse density, climatic factors, vegetation and host abundance. Dispersal of tsetse into open country was quantified using the mean spread. During and after the rains both species extended their distribution out into open country up to at least 3.5 km from riverine thicket areas. The mean spread of G. longipennis was greater than that of G. pallidipes. The spread of males and females was very similar, as was the spread of different age categories of parous females, but nulliparous flies and females carrying second instar larvae were under-represented in samples from open areas. This seasonal dispersal can be accounted for by random diffusion with an average root mean square displacement of about 175 m per day. Observed degrees of spread were best correlated with humidity conditions prior to sampling, but multiple regression models suggested that host abundance, vegetation as measured by Normalised Difference Vegetation Indices (NDVI), and, in the case of G. longipennis, tsetse density, were also factors in determining the degree of spread. The significance of these findings in relation to tsetse control is discussed.
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