Haemocytes of Glossina—I. Morphological classification and the pattern of change with age of the flies
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Three morphological classes of haemocytes (prohaemocytes, plasmatocytes and granulocytes) were observed in the haemolymph of Glossina morsitans morsitans and G. pallidipes. In addition to the three types, a category of spindle cells were also observed in haemolymph especially in the newly emerged Glossina. Based on their unusual morphology, as well as on their inverse relationship with the number of thrombocytoids (a filamentous plasmatocyte), it is suggested that these spindle cells might be precursors of thrombocytoids observed mostly in older Glossina. The number of thrombocytoids increased progressively with the increasing age of the flies. Total haemocyte counts (THCs) dropped significantly during the first 48 hr following emergence, after which the values levelled off with the exception of minor fluctuations. This sudden drop in THCs resulted primarily from a remarkable decrease in the number of the spindle cells in the haemolymph. The number of round plasmatocytes decreased gradually and progressively with age of the flies, while the number of the granulocytes increased, suggesting a possible transformation of plasmatocytes into granulocytes. Newly emerged female G. morsitans morsitans were observed to have significantly higher THCs (P < 0.01) than males of the same age. Although no difference was observed between THCs of 5-week-old pregnant and non-pregnant female G. morsitans morsitans, the differential haemocyte counts (DHCs) showed that the concentration of thrombocytoid fragments was significantly lower (P < 0.01) in the pregnant than in the non-pregnant females.