SEM of a pubic louse

SEM of a pubic louse

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Credit: E. GRAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the pubic louse, Phthirus pubis, also known as the crab louse, clinging to a human pubic hair. An infestation of P. pubis causes pediculosis, the symptoms of which are severe itching and rash. The lice suck blood, feeding 5 times a day. They spread through sexual contact and via bedding or clothing. Each of the louse's 6 legs terminates in a massive claw, which folds inward to meet a thumb-like projection on the opposite side. The louse climbs and swings through its hairy habitat, locking into position when disturbed, for instance by scratching or washing. Magnification: x33 at 6x4.5cm size.

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Keywords: animal, crab louse, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, louse, nature, phthirus pubis, pubic louse, wildlife, zoology

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