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Microarchitecture of the tsetse fly proboscis

Overview of attention for article published in Parasites & Vectors, September 2017
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#21 of 4,940)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (97th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (85th percentile)

Mentioned by

8 news outlets
1 blog
33 tweeters
1 Facebook page

Readers on

39 Mendeley
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Microarchitecture of the tsetse fly proboscis
Published in
Parasites & Vectors, September 2017
DOI 10.1186/s13071-017-2367-2
Pubmed ID

Wendy Gibson, Lori Peacock, Rachel Hutchinson


Tsetse flies (genus Glossina) are large blood-sucking dipteran flies that are important as vectors of human and animal trypanosomiasis in sub-Saharan Africa. Tsetse anatomy has been well described, including detailed accounts of the functional anatomy of the proboscis for piercing host skin and sucking up blood. The proboscis also serves as the developmental site for the infective metacyclic stages of several species of pathogenic livestock trypanosomes that are inoculated into the host with fly saliva. To understand the physical environment in which these trypanosomes develop, we have re-examined the microarchitecture of the tsetse proboscis. We examined proboscises from male and female flies of Glossina pallidipes using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Each proboscis was removed from the fly head and either examined intact or dissected into the three constituent components: Labrum, labium and hypopharynx. Our light and SEM images reaffirm earlier observations that the tsetse proboscis is a formidably armed weapon, well-adapted for piercing skin, and provide comparative data for G. pallidipes. In addition, the images reveal that the hypopharynx, the narrow tube that delivers saliva to the wound site, ends in a remarkably ornate and complex structure with around ten finger-like projections, each adorned with sucker-like protrusions, contradicting previous descriptions that show a simple, bevelled end like a hypodermic needle. The function of the finger-like projections is speculative; they appear to be flexible and may serve to protect the hypopharynx from influx of blood or microorganisms, or control the flow of saliva. Proboscises were examined after colonisation by Trypanosoma congolense savannah. Consistent with the idea that colonisation commences in the region nearest the foregut, the highest densities of trypanosomes were found in the region of the labrum proximal to the bulb, although high densities were also found in other regions of the labrum. Trypanosomes were visible through the thin wall of the hypopharynx by both light microscopy and SEM. We highlight the remarkable architecture of the tsetse proboscis, in particular the intricate structure of the distal end of the hypopharynx. Further work is needed to elucidate the function of this intriguing structure.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 33 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 39 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 39 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 10 26%
Student > Bachelor 6 15%
Researcher 6 15%
Other 3 8%
Professor 2 5%
Other 4 10%
Unknown 8 21%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 13 33%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 4 10%
Immunology and Microbiology 3 8%
Mathematics 2 5%
Veterinary Science and Veterinary Medicine 1 3%
Other 7 18%
Unknown 9 23%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 90. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 26 November 2020.
All research outputs
of 19,503,523 outputs
Outputs from Parasites & Vectors
of 4,940 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 289,512 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Parasites & Vectors
of 28 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 19,503,523 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 4,940 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a little more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 5.1. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 289,512 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 28 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 85% of its contemporaries.