American fly threatens Africa's animal life
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CTA. 1990. American fly threatens Africa's animal life. Spore 25. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45215
Experts are putting out urgent warnings about a southern American fly - the screw worm fly - which has appeared for the first time in the African continent in Libya as a sheep parasite, and which is threatening cattle, domestic animals, important...
Experts are putting out urgent warnings about a southern American fly - the screw worm fly - which has appeared for the first time in the African continent in Libya as a sheep parasite, and which is threatening cattle, domestic animals, important wildlife reserves and even people, throughout Africa. The parasite is a large yellowy red-headed fly with a metallic sheen. The female can lay up to 300 eggs in four minutes in any tiny wound. Within an hour these eggs have developed into screw-shaped larvae which then enlarge the wound and attract more egg-laying females. Serious myiatic debilitation, and even death, follow if the infection is not treated. The fly has no natural enemies other than cold and thus thrives in tropical and subtropical regions. It can travel large distances, but is also transported by larvae-ridden animals. In the Americas, the screw worm fly causes hundreds of millions of dollars' damage and, although it can be eradicated by releasing males sterilized by exposure to gamma rays, this solution may be too expensive and impracticable for application in vast areas of the African continent. Last year FAO began a joint programme with Libya costing several million dollars, but it is feared that this will be too little too late. If it is not controlled the pest could become a very serious danger to wild and domestic animals in Africa. For more details, contact: Agricultural Operations Division FAO Via delle Terme di Caracalla 00100 Rome - ITALY