TSETSE FLY COLLECTED BY DAVID LIVINGSTONE

Tsetse Fly Collected by David Livingstone

John Obadiah Westwood was the first Professor of Zoology (Entomology) 1861-1893 and Curator of the Hope Entomological Collections within the Museum. Westwood named several species of African tsetse fly, including the savannah-dwelling Glossina morsitans. The explorer David Livingstone, obviously aware of this work, sent to Westwood specimens of G. morsitans that he himself had collected in what is now Malawi. Being more of an explorer than entomologist, Livingstone did not take too much care over his specimen, which arrived back in Oxford in pieces, now preserved on a small card within the insect collections. Several subsequent Hope Professors also worked in Africa, some on tsetse, and it was in the Hope Department in the late 1960s that John Ford, who had spent much of his working life in Africa studying tsetse, wrote an important book on the impact on African development of the African trypanosomiases – the diseases that tsetse transmit (causing sleeping sickness in humans and ‘nagana’ in domestic animals). I was then a post-graduate and my talks with John led to my own life-long interest in tsetse and Africa. It is an exciting privilege today to be part of the long and fascinating history of the Museum’s insect collections.

David Rogers, Hope Entomological Collections