Feeding black fly

Feeding black fly

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Credit: SINCLAIR STAMMERS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Feeding black fly (Simulium damnosum). This small fly feeds on blood from human skin by abrading the skin surface until a pool of blood forms, which it laps up. This fly is a vector for river blindness, a disease caused by a parasitic filarial worm. The microscopic filarial stage of the worm passes from humans to flies in the blood. The microfilariae penetrate the fly's gut wall and develop through several stages, ending up as infective larvae in the fly's labium (mouthpart). They are then passed on when the fly next feeds on a human host. Humans harbour adult worms that produce the microfilariae that cause problems such as blindness. This fly is found in Western Africa. Photographed in Ghana.

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Keywords: africa, african, animal, black, blood, condition, disease, disorder, feeding, filariasis, fly, ghana, ghanian, gnat, healthcare, human, infected, infecting, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, meal, medical, medicine, nature, onchocerciasis, river blindness, simulium damnosum, skin, transmission, transmitting, vector, wildlife, zoology

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