Indigenous cattle are trekked, along well defined routes, from the north of Nigeria to markets in the south of the country. A major route crosses the River Niger at Jebba and proceeds south through Ilorin, Ogbomosho and Oyo towns. In 1912 the tsetse fly Glossina morsitans submorsitans Newst. was absent from this route south of Jebba. The species appeared mid-way between Jebba and Ilorin in about 1935, reached Ilorin by about 1950 and Oyo by, or before, 1967. The rate of southwards advance, if linear, was about 5·4 km per year or 104 m per week.
The Jebba-Oyo infestation may have originated, not as a southwards extension of a fly belt north of the River Niger at Jebba (now termed Belt 24), as generally believed, but by immigration of flies from Eastern Ilorin Province, known to be heavily infested as early as 1912. Several cattle routes from that area converged north of Ilorin before the present route became predominant.
G. m. submorsitans was eradicated from the route south of Ogbomosho by insecticide spraying in January 1970. The rate of re-invasion of this section was measured for the next three years and found to be about 5·13 km per year or 99 m per week, proceeding faster during dry than during wet seasons.
The calculated rates of advance, both long and short term, were about half the figure (180 m per week) proposed by other workers as the dispersal rate of individual flies, which is believed to determine rates of advance. The relative slowness of the present advance was probably related to the equability of the climate, in which seasonal increases and decreases in fly population were slight.