Insect of the Month: Camel fly, Hippobosca camelina
Hippobosca camelina, also known as camel fly or camel ked, feeds only on blood and is present year-round in dry and humid areas. Its major host is the camel but they can also feed on goats, sheep, cattle, wild animals and humans. Because of its blood feeding habit on different domestic and wild animals, it is a vector of many pathogens including African trypanosomes and Anaplasma, the two most economically important pathogens of domestic animals. There are about 15 million camels in the Horn of Africa region, the largest concentration globally. Camels are resilient yet under-researched animals for marginalized communities coping with climate change, where they provide meat and milk. Diseases transmitted by the camel fly cause loss of productivity and abortions in camels. icipe’s study of biting flies, such as the camel fly, is geared toward improving livestock health, with a focus on the smallholder farmer.