Human head louse, with match head for scale

Human head louse, with match head for scale

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Credit: DR P. MARAZZI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: View of a human head louse, photographed next to a match head for scale. The head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis, inhabits the hair of the head, glueing its eggs (called nits) to the shafts of individual hairs. Its flattened, leathery body is resistant to crushing and its mouthparts are adapted for sucking blood. The head louse is closely related to the body louse Pediculus humanus corporis; both subspecies are capable of interbreeding. Their main difference is in habitat, with body lice living in clothing and moving on to the skin to feed. Infestations of lice cause pediculosis, an intense itching.

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Keywords: animal, cause of, head louse, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, match for scale, nature, pediculosis, pediculus humanus capitis, wildlife, zoology

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